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German student team wins bronze three times and silver once at the 15th International Junior Science Olympiad in Botswana

December 20th, 2018
German student team wins bronze three times and silver once at the 15th International Junior Science Olympiad in Botswana

ltr:Marinus Lehmann, Anton Haas, Franka Jekel, Floria Thömel, Nico Enghardt, Frieder Petzold

How many elephants are there in Botswana? It's questions like these that the six-member German national team had to solve in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, at outside temperatures of up to 40 degrees. In two theoretical and one practical exam, the 14- to 15-year-old students had to prove their knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics.

The German national team, consisting of Franka Jekel from Bavaria, Anton Haas and Marinus Lehmann from Brandenburg as well as Floria Thömel, Nico Enghardt and Frieder Petzold from Saxony, travelled to Botswana from December 2nd – 11th and answered the questions of the hosts under the motto "Discovery, Innovation and Environment". They found out that a national park in Botswana with 2.6 elephants per km² has the highest elephant density in Africa, even if elephants are not present in the southern part of the country around Gaborone. On the excursion to the Mokolodi National Park, one could admire zebras and giraffes in the wild.

For the 300 young people from all over the world there were numerous opportunities to make new contacts, to gather strong impressions of the country and its people and to broaden their own horizons. The "Cultural Night", the cultural highlight of the competition, in which the host country presented its customs and traditions, also impressed the supervising team of the students. The closing ceremony on Monday at the International Convention Centre (GICC) of The Grand Palm in Gaborone was more formal. The German Ambassador Ralf Breth also attended the medal ceremony for Floria, Anton, Marinus and Nico.

Heide Peters, Vice-President of the IJSO for Europe and for many years Director of the IJSO Germany, looks to the future: "In two years we will be the hosts in Germany, and we very much hope to succeed in creating such a warm atmosphere as we have experienced in Botswana".

Background
The International JuniorScience Olympiad - or IJSO for short - offers support for young talent in the STEM field starting in Grade 5. It is a nationwide school competition in four rounds and one of the six Science Olympiads at the IPN at Kiel University. Sponsorship comes from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the cultural authorities of the federal states. The competition tasks are interdisciplinary and enable participants to experience sciences in everyday life.

The best six students of the IJSO qualify for the national team. Selection for the IJSO Federal Final takes place in September. These students will then travel to the International Junior Science Olympiad in early December. The students are trained and accompanied by a team of tutors the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) in Kiel, the organizer of the IJSO Germany. The ten-day International Final, held in a different country each year, brings together student delegations from fifty nations around the world to compete for gold, silver and bronze.