In order to support the students' base of skills and widen their knowledge our school introduced additional mathematics classes in grades five and six, while converting these to compulsory electives for students in grade seven to ten. This is meant to enrich the set of skills which students use to solve problems in the natural sciences, as the electives are mathematics, computer science, physics, biology and chemistry, which allows students to specialize at a very early stage, as the curriculum of these additional lessons is going beyond what the state-curriculum requires to be taught.

Excited students during an IT project.

In grade seven and eight students choose two of those electives, while in grade nine and ten they have to settle on one of the electives in order to intensify the knowledge within a specific field.

For instance, in grade ten this can include a further inquiry into complex numbers if you chose mathematics, while studying bionics if biology is the subject of choice or doing engine technology in physics. This approach enables the school to offer a wide range of intense teaching, which substantially enhances student’s abilities, while also preparing them for their future career path.

Another aim of this early diversification is the recognition of gifted and talented students, while offering to choose from a wide range, which gives them a chance to deal with a sudden change of interest, often observed during adolescence.

Handcraft skills are also often needed.

Following this principle, the school introduced interdisciplinary teaching weeks, held once a year for grades five to ten. A minimum of two subjects are combined to develop an interdisciplinary approach to a specific field or topic. The aim is to use two subjects in conjunction with each other, which are usually not related to each other, e.g. physics and ethics. This allows the students to evaluate a topic from different points of view and to broaden their horizon, one possibility for involving the mentioned subjects would be: “What are the ethical consequences of new weaponry, engineered in our country?” This would require attaining the knowledge about the technical system of modern weapons, which does heavily involve physics, engineering, as well as moral and ethical approaches to the issue, in order to objectively evaluate the topic. As this combines two completely different ideas within one coherent program of teaching, it requires students to change their perspectives continuously while thinking beyond the linear solution principles, employing a new mind-set.

The skills and the knowledge also help Ostwald TSA’s members to find innovative approaches and solutions to the problems they encounter during project work, which enriches the TSA experience.

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