Mathematics, ICT, Natural Sciences and Technology
Since the foundation of the school, we have had MINT – in English speaking countries known as STEM – as a focus, as the concentration on these subjects forms the most important basis for innovations and technical developments in later professional life, especially with regard to the advancing digitalisation of all areas worldwide and the important future topics of nature and environmental protection, energy and sustainability, nutrition and resources. Since 2020, we are proud of our certifications as a MINT-friendly school in Germany and as an Umweltschule (environmental school) in Europe.
There are no classic female or male professions or careers. Our primary goal is to inspire boys and girls alike through these subjects and to develop their confidence within these areas without creating an aversion towards these subjects, which are traditionally seen as complex. We therefore choose the method of addressing everyday questions from the students and answer them in a practical, experimental manner.
Dealing with MINT and its wide range of applications has become a natural part of our school culture in interdisciplinary, project-oriented and often cross-class activities. In special clubs, at competitions, project days, at our school events, on school trips and in our Work & Travel program, we take up mathematical, scientific and information technology topics and contents in all class levels. Our subject rooms, the workshop and many excursions offer stimulating learning environments for practical and hands-on learning.
Our students learn how to use the computer in a natural way in our computer lab, in the the classrooms, in the library and online for targeted research and in the units for media competency where they learn further important foundations and skills for using both new and old media. As a prerequisite to this, our school has specialist rooms well-equipped with technology. There are internet, the school network and Wi-Fi available in each room, a projector and a PC in every classroom, a laptop for each employee, a computer lab, a library and a reliable technical support team, all representing the provision of information technology in the school building. All classrooms and subject rooms are equipped with interactive ActivPanels. We also provide class sets of mobile devices (Microsoft surfaces).
All students in every Year have their own Microsoft 365 account and Platanus e-mail address for media-supported work and communication at school and at home – with each other and with our staff.
All over the world, business associations emphasise the importance of the availability of a MINT-focused workforce for the innovative strength of companies. By focusing on these subjects, we offer our students the prerequisites for a good start to the corresponding professionel education and thus the best opportunities on the German and international labour market. Our ambition is to sustainably inspire as many children and young people as possible so that they also decide to pursue a professional career in these fields. We plan further cooperations and projects, collect innovative ideas for shaping our school life and continuously evaluate our MINT profile. We also keep an eye on the growing shortage of skilled workers and the challenges of the future, but first and foremost we feel a deep passion for mathematics and science and are happy to pass this on to all students at PLATANUS SCHULE BERLIN.
Questions and Answers about MINT
In the primary school, we develop the mathematical and scientific foundations in a playful manner so that our students are open to these topics right from the beginning. In science and social studies (Years 1 to 4), mathematics and especially on our fortnightly project days, we deal with any questions relating to everyday life that the children may have.
From Year 1 onwards, we teach a higher number of lessons in science and social studies than in the Berlin primary schools and in support teaching with a Class Erzieher*in.
In addition, science and social studies also takes place in our schoolyard. In raised beds and in a green space we grow our own vegetables, sow our own flowers and bee pastures and have even built a compost heap. We have planted fruit trees, berry bushes and other useful plants and maintain a cooperation with the gardening school Pankow. In attractive clubs, such as robotics or in our Science Club, and in the holiday program, we offer MINT-specific activities outside the classroom in an age-appropriate way.
In Years 5 and 6, the sciences are taught in German and/or English, in Support-Teaching with the Class Erzieher*innen in a cross-curricular way. The aim of this, is to develop a basic understanding of the close subject link between the scientific subjects of biology, chemistry, and physics and for the students to expand their scientific vocabulary in both languages as well as to promote skills through interdisciplinary thinking and learning.
With Robotics, Computer Skills and STEAM (Sciences/Technology/Engineering/Art/Mathematics) we offer attractive elective courses with MINT reference. Two-thirds of our students voluntarily chose an elective course in the MINT field in the last school year – from a wide range of different electives. This confirmed that we were successful in getting our children excited about MINT topics in Years 1 to 4.
In the secondary school, we teach through a mixture of specialised lessons, fortnightly project days, and our Work & Travel program. We address the students‘ real and life related mathematical and scientific questions that reach far beyond the curriculum.
In Years 7 and 8, secondary school students learn Natural Sciences with a total of 2 hours more per week than in Berlin’s Gymnasium (high school or grammar school). In addition, from Year 7, we already teach specialized subjects and at a higher level in the sub-disciplines of biology, physics and chemistry.
Exciting excursions and interesting projects await our secondary school students, such as the cultivation of a digital garden, excursions, as well as internships and class trips with a MINT reference. We maintain cooperation and partnerships with organisations, companies and scientific institutions (e.g. Greenpeace, Buchlokal, IPGarten, Women in AI and the Lindhof experimental farm of the University of Kiel). Experts from research and business accompany our project days, which we conduct inside and outside the school building.
In Years 1 to 4, IT and media education are integrated into science and social studies and is also taken up in all other subjects. In Years 5 to 10, IT and media education are integrated into all subjects – depending on the topic and application. This also means that in all subjects, our students study the opportunity to use the computer, with office and educational software, e-Mail, Internet and multimedia applications to practice interesting topics.
In Years 5 and 6, we also offer the elective subjects Robotics, STEAM and Computer Skills for interested students.
We are leaning into the further development of our curriculum for IT and media education the objectives and standards of the European Computer Driving License (European Computer Driving License, ECDL – internationally recognized as International Computer Driving License, ICDL).
With these methods in modern teaching, we effortlessly prepare our students for an increasingly digitized working and living environment.
In the 2019/20 school year, on the initiative of two parents’ representatives, we founded our own MINT working group, which is dedicated exclusively to sharpening our MINT profile even further, entering into exciting collaborations with external MINT partners, organising instructive training courses for our colleagues and offering even more MINT-related activities. Parents’ representatives, members of the school leadership team an our subject teachers are active in this working group.
If you are interested in an exchange or have any questions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your contact person for all MINT topics is Ms. Joana Kappes, our Head of School Lessons – Years 5 to 7.
Of course! In music, art and physical education, too, our subject lessons, our all-day activities and the very well-equipped subject rooms awaken the children’s talents. From Year 1 onwards, music, art and sports lessons are only taught by trained subject teachers and in specially equipped subject rooms. Art lessons, for example, are taught according to the art education concept TAB, which enables the students to take more responsibility for their own artistic creative process. The abbreviation is an acronym for Teaching for Artistic Behaviors. More information here: Unser Kunstunterricht: Wir praktizieren TAB!.
In many different clubs, on project days, in competitions or in performances on the big stage, children and young people who are enthusiastic about art or sport can also realise their potential.