As a chemical company, we are going to need outstanding scientists in the future. Consequently, WACKER is working to generate enthusiasm for technology and the natural sciences among children, a goal we are pursuing in a variety of ways:

WACKER supports progressive teaching methods and modern school management systems. Our Group is one of the founding members of the Bavarian Educational Pact, a foundation in which 143 companies have now joined Bavaria in sponsoring a variety of projects at state schools. The aim of all of these projects is to continuously modernize the Bavarian educational system. The key initiative of the reporting period was the “Flexible Elementary School” project, an experiment where 20 Bavarian elementary schools geared their curricula toward children’s individual development.

Since developing its first experiment kit for schools in 1992, WACKER has worked with educators and chemists to continuously improve the experiments and accompanying brochures. The kits, which are available to schools at no cost, contain all of the basics required for running chemical experiments on materials such as silicone fluids, anti-foam agents, sealants, adhesives and cyclodextrins – real-life experiments from WACKER that support young people’s science education. During the period under review, WACKER initiated two pilot projects involving the experiment kit. Working with Munich’s LMU university, WACKER set about modifying the experiments so that students at two types of German high school can perform them themselves. The resulting changes will be incorporated into the next edition of the kit, which is scheduled for completion in 2012.

WACKER supports Science-Lab, a private-sector educational initiative that awakens children’s interest in science at an early age. At our German locations, we finance one-day Science-Lab seminars for elementary-school and kindergarten teachers. We also donate research kits that enable seminar participants to cover topics such as biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and the earth sciences in a kid-friendly way. With the help of Science- Lab and the Booz consultancy, WACKER launched an education initiative in 2010 for Neuperlach-Ramersdorf (the district of Munich with the city’s highest rate of poverty). Here, kindergarten and elementary-school teachers were offered the chance to learn more about certain scientific and technical topics for classroom work. In Burghausen and Altötting, WACKER financed Science-Lab experiment fairs for children during the summer vacation.

Since 1998, WACKER has supported Germany’s Young Scientists competition, which promotes young people’s interest in science. Every two years (including 2010), we organize and sponsor the Bavarian state-wide competition. WACKER has also supported Dresden’s regional competition since 2007, first as partner and, since 2009, as an official corporate sponsor.

All WACKER sites help young people prepare for a profession. At career days and student workshops, our employees introduce high-school students to jobs in the chemical industry and teach them real-life skills. The following are a few examples from the period under review:

  • The “Visions 2050 – Students Thinking Outside The Box” creativity workshop: students at Burghausen’s Aventinus high school attended this three-day workshop, where they developed ideas for innovative products and learned techniques for presenting their ideas.
  • Girls’ Day: as in previous years, WACKER’s Burghausen-based vocational training center (BBiW) took part in this nationwide career information day in 2009 and 2010. Girls attending the event learned about careers as industrial mechanics, skilled chemical workers and electrical maintenance and automation technicians.
  • Information Day: once a year, the BBiW opens its doors to present its training program. Instructors and trainees are on hand to answer questions and to organize tours through BBiW training laboratories and workshops. 2009’s and 2010’s young visitors and their parents had the opportunity to ask about careers in business and chemistry, about apprenticeship programs in the fields of metalworking and electronics, and about combined work-study bachelor’s degree programs.
  • Career Day: at Freiberg’s high school, students spent an entire day in 2010 in career interest groups. They met with employees from a variety of companies, including Siltronic, to learn about educational and career opportunities in their field of interest.
Each year, Burghausen’s Vocational Training Center (BBiW) invites young people and their parents to an info event. (photo)

Each year, Burghausen’s Vocational Training Center (BBiW) invites young people and their parents to an info event.

Thirteen school libraries have been established in the Chinese provinces of Anhui and Guangdong since 2006, thanks to employees at our WACKER Greater China subsidiary. And in the village of Fujia, WACKER helped finance the complete reconstruction of an elementary school after the 2008 earthquake see Disaster Aid.

Young Students: Chemistry at Children’s University Young Students: Chemistry at Children’s University (photo)

A favorite project of WACKER chemists Dr. Christian Finger and Dr. Guido Kallinger is to present chemistry in an exciting and inspiring way. They held several chemistry lectures for children during the reporting period – for instance, a “children’s university” lecture at Burghausen in 2010. Entitled “Cold Light and Hot Colors,” the lecture drew over 100 junior students between the ages of eight and twelve to the community center auditorium to learn how artificial light is generated and how it can be transformed into a panorama of colors. The chemists demonstrated this by taking a luminous blue reaction mixture and pouring it through a cooling coil. The children were amazed as the mixture – now a radiant yellow – collected into a conical flask. In other experiments, the two WACKER employees prepared Dracula tea and a vampire dessert, and made tartaric acid light up and minerals glow. Between demonstrations, the scientists also made brief forays into theory, teaching the children the scientific fundamentals of heat and light.