First International Student-Makeathon at GISW

In November 2018, we achieved our goal of becoming the first school outside of Europe abroad to be admitted to the Excellence Network, schools having an outstanding mathematics, science and technology profile.

One year later, the then Head of School Mrs. Palenzatis and I went to Dresden to present our STEM concept at the Principles' Conference. Of course we were very curious to see what the other exhibitors at the MINT-EC school concept expo had to offer. Our booth neighbors, for example, arrived with an unusual shopping basket that can go shopping on its own. The concept was developed by students from the Gymnasium Höchstadt in Bavaria which they then turned into reality with the help of coaches, experts in science and technology. That was an exciting illustration of the “Makeathon” concept, one of many.

Almost immediately we explored a partnership with the team from the Gymnasium Höchstadt but the Covid-19 pandemic intervened and the start of the program had to be delayed by one year. But finally on October 30, 2021 we were allowed to begin. First, 10 students from each school introduced themselves virtually to each other

and then the brainstorming over concepts for new products began. Three mixed teams of German and American members quickly got to work planning their projects. First, the most promising ideas had to be selected from the more than 60 that were put forward – which turned out to be quite difficult. But with the help of the coaches from both locations, three exciting projects were selected; a school backpack that organizes itself


a self-sorting recycling bin and, for schools that can’t afford expensive smart boards, a self-cleaning white board that retains and digitals all the work done on it. Then began the work of bringing the ideas to fruition, through immersion in workshops on technology, programming, mechanics and 3D printing. Important supplemental advice on drawing up business plans and on project organization was provided.

After four stimulating, work-intensive but also eventful and amusing days, the first phase was successfully completed.




Here is a brief overview of the first day.

On the first day of phase one of the 1st GISW international Makeathon everyone came to school at 8:30 on Saturday October 30th. We ate an amazing breakfast, where everyone brought something, while getting to know everyone. Once we got everything set up, we met the students, teachers and coaches from Germany. We got to know each other through games. We then thought of how and what we would bring to the moon if we were stranded and needed to find a ship about 30 kilometers away. Then we started to think of ideas for our projects, where many good ideas were given. At the end we said goodbye to everyone and ate the rest of the food we brought for the breakfast. The first day was interesting and the students were very nice, and the ideas were inspiring. Some ideas were a smart refrigerator that tells you once something is going bad, a ball that automatically counts the number of goals one makes, a chip that tracks your pets, and many more. I had a lot of fun and can't wait to start building the ideas and having fun with the students. I believe this will turn out amazing, because of all the communication we have and all the smart people and ideas we have.

Karla N. (10b)

In the next weeks we will publish more reports, so stay curious!


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