The Photonics Explorer Kit is an experimental educational kit offered to schools, comprising more than 110 high-quality tools, such as lenses, LED and laser modules, diffraction gratings and polarizers.
“With this educational kit, teachers can support students’ learning of photonics with inspiring experiments and teamwork, while also developing their own photonics expertise in the process,” says Project Coordinator Juuso Uusimäki from the Photonics Flagship PREIN.
“Around 80 schools in Finland have been using the kit earlier. This May, the Photonics Flagship PREIN and Photonics Finland launched a campaign through which companies and private individuals have already donated 16 kits to schools. PREIN and Photonics Finland will match each donated educational kit by their own kits, increasing the number of sponsored kits to 48.”
So far, the donated kits have ended up in schools almost all across Finland, from Helsinki to Oulu.
“This idea has been well received by companies and private individuals, and they’ve also been pleased with how easy the donation process is. All one has to do is to fill out a form on our website,” Uusimäki says.
“Private individuals in particular have also written nice letters to their old schools, thanking them and wanting to offer support. Some kits have also been donated to schools attended by donors’ own children. Very few have had visibility or good press in mind; it seems that most donors simply want to support education in natural sciences.”
Postdoctoral Researcher Mikko Kesonen from the Department of Physics and Mathematics has, in the past, organised Photonics Explorer Kit training sessions for teachers and, according to him, teachers have been especially pleased with how compact in size the kit is.
“There is plenty of content in such a small kit, enough for an entire class. This saves teachers from having to bring in a huge arsenal of equipment: the relatively small kit will do. The kit has enough tools for an entire class to do various experiments and studies,” he says.
“We will continue to look for new sponsors this autumn and deliver kits all over Finland. We still have plenty of kits that are up for donation, so schools that are interested can fill out the form on our website and let us know they’re interested. Our goal is to spread the Photonics Explorer Kit as far and wide as we can here in Finland,” Uusimäki says.