Awakening fun in life science: the lab goes to school – Freie Universität Berlin

My son, my father told me recently, never talks about class. He talks about his workgroup all the time. ” Petra Skiebe-Corrette, professor of biology at Freie Universität and head of the NatLab practical science and experimental laboratory for school-age children, needs only a few words to describe how much the up after Corona mit the NatLab project has helped students in working groups such as like a bicycle club, regain the joy of learning – after the hardships of the crown pandemic, after closing and learning at home.

The Petra Skiebe-Corrette project is part of the program “Keeping up with Corona for children and young people”, “LernortLabor – Bundesverband der Schülerlabore e. V.”, under the leadership of the scientist, together with the Julius Maximilian University in Würzburg. It was funded by a total of EUR 20 million by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The money goes to support the offers of 98 student laboratories to fill science gaps and promote the joy of collaborative learning, such as Petra Skiebe-Corrette’s NatLab.

Primary school children should also be supported

Before the pandemic, the professor and her team looked after mainly students in grades 5 through 12, with great interest in science. Now, however, they wanted to awaken a new joy in learning among younger school-age children who were severely affected by the pandemic – which is why AGs are also held at school and not in the school laboratory.

Petra Skiebe-Corrette is supported by teacher Christin Strung, who is seconded to NatLab, and Claus Brencher. A retired teacher worked for many years in the primary school. Heinrich Zille in Kreuzberg. Now Claus Brencher has established contacts with primary schools, talked to school management about the school’s social work, teachers working there, and advised students who were running work groups such as a bicycle workgroup and were to work with students in the daily life project.

One of these students is Leon Moellney. A political science student is involved in the FUrad bicycle self-help workshop at Freie Universität Berlin and was contacted when the project was looking for a bicycle expert as one of the schools involved in the project wanted a bicycle club as it always wanted to offer a craft workshop. “As someone who is interested in bicycles, I thought it was fun to pass on my knowledge,” says Leon Moellney, outlining his motivation to run Fahrrad-AG with a teacher-student. A motivation that quickly spread to his eight students, as became clear during the closing event of the entire school project. – Leon explained well. He bought us some spare parts and we even managed to repair my brother’s bike, says Ismail (name changed) proudly, one of the elementary school students who attended the workshop. “When we had to study at home during Corona, I missed my friends. The friendships at AG have grown again ”.

During the blockades, the world of many students became small

When they hung out together in a small group, the two students quickly noticed when conflicts arose or when the students were in a bad mood. If someone suddenly needed 30 minutes to change a tire, and the week before it had turned into five, they would have asked why. A dyslexic student who had a hard time returning to class told Leon how little he wrote in close: “Maximum of one five-line.” During the pandemic, the world of many children became small. “If anything, it’s outdoor football, or Playstation,” Leon Moellney learned from high school children. The working group has made the world around the world again and with it great students.

have fun together Pandemic catch-up program.Photo: NatLab

As they practiced movements such as changing tires, they almost accidentally learned the appropriate technical terms. “Then suddenly they said, hey, I need an Allen key,” says Leon Moellney. “And a coat and tights,” adds Ismail, an elementary school student. Leon hopes that students will also take part in AG next school year.

The rest of the groups worked like the bike club at Charlotte-Salomon Elementary School: intense, approachable, two pupils of eight school-age children. They were suggested by schools and participation was voluntary. It wasn’t about school supplies, there were no grades, instead tinkering without pressure, with a lot of freedom for creative ideas.

In the working groups of four other participating primary schools, after twelve two-hour meetings each, specially developed experimental kits from the Technique and Life Sciences collaboration partner in schools (TuWas!) Were used to create other things: such as unbreakable packaging or balloon-powered racing cars, which the students proudly presented on this joint final day let the factory go. Like the joint completion of Charlotte-Salomon Primary School, all AGs were held in the respective schools – a new territory for Professor Petra Skiebe-Corrette’s practical and experimental laboratory, where students would otherwise end up at the Freie Universität in Dahlem.

“Since it is a long journey for primary school students, this time we packed our lab in boxes and took it to the schools,” explains Petra Skiebe-Corrette. A successful experiment that will be extended: twelve schools will take part in the second round after the summer holidays instead of six. Ismail and many other students would like to go back there as well.

The Freie Universität Berlin is responsible for the content of this text.

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