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School pupils seek inspiration in Der Aa-kerk.

07 June 2016

Who hasn’t lain awake at night worrying about their profile assignment? Some 300 school pupils came to seek inspiration for that oh so important research question from the Science LinX exhibition in the Der Aa-kerk during the Research Days prior to the Night of Arts and Sciences. Our reporter Sterre Koops was there too.

It’s some time ago for most students, but we have all done a profile assignment at some point. For many of us this was our first big project, and what an ordeal it was. Where to start? How to start? How to fill those 80 hours? The profile assignment certainly caused me a few sleepless nights.

School pupils answer questions in the Der Aa-kerk | Photo Sterre Koops
School pupils answer questions in the Der Aa-kerk | Photo Sterre Koops

I would therefore have jumped at the opportunity that a group of secondary school pupils were given by the University of Groningen on Thursday 2 June: a presentation and various exhibits to help them gain inspiration for their profile assignment. They were also given possible topics to write about.

The practical part came first: what exactly is a profile assignment and how can you prepare for it? This part concluded with a number of short films of pupils who had just completed their profile assignment presenting their topics. This was the first point in the day that different topics were used to arouse the pupils’ interest. The films were obviously well produced and were about interesting topics, but it was still an eye-opener for the pupils to see how many different directions you can take, and how you can take something that interests you and turn it into your subject.

Before the tour of the exhibits in the Der Aa-kerk, University of Groningen student Aisja Hamed spoke about her education so far. She spoke well and her main message for the pupils was how difficult it can be to choose the right degree programme. She then proceeded to give them tools to make this decision easier. And although this may sound like a typical inspirational story at first, it was much more than just that. The down-to-earth presentation contained genuine advice that should help at least some of the pupils decide what to study.


Then it was time for the pupils to gain inspiration for their profile assignment from the exhibits. They were given a guided tour of various projects, some of which encourage creativity, whereas others raise awareness of issues such as the environment. Although the programme for the day was well thought-out, it was not of equal use to everyone. Many of the pupils were following the Culture & Society or Economy & Society profiles, so the science-focused exhibition wasn’t much help to them. This was a shame, but most of them did find the introductory presentation useful, and they did enjoy themselves and are at least that bit further with their profile assignment. So the aim has been achieved to some extent, making it a successful afternoon.

Last modified:14 June 2016 09.39 a.m.
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