Doing science together – learning from each other

Starting in the fall, MDC scientists will take part in a successful new Berlin proposal for “Teachers and scientists.”

For many years, teaching labs such as the “Gläsernes Labor” have offered school children a direct look at modern research. But long-term projects that offer teachers a chance to participate in research projects and pursue the questions posed by modern science have been lacking. The organization Science on Stage Germany and the foundation “Young researchers” aim to promote continual collaborations between teachers and scientists. The goal of the new program is to keep classrooms up-to-date, thereby improving the quality of teaching and stimulating more interest among pupils for the natural sciences.

Of ten projects submitted under the title “Teachers and scientists,” four were selected for funding, including a proposal from the Berlin cluster. Tobias Pischon’s “Molecular epidemiology” group will participate with teachers from the Andreas Gymnasium and the Robert-Havemann Gymnasium in Berlin in a project that will last for several years. Other successful regional projects will begin in Aachen, Bielefeld and Osnabrück.

The Berlin group will plan, carry out, and evaluate a study that they have organized on the theme, “How can I stay healthy, and how can I gain access to scientifically valid data?” The first of three workshops will take place at the beginning of September and will present teachers with a theoretical basis for understanding issues related to health and nutrition. At the beginning of next year, the group will start planning and carrying out its own study.

The overall aim is to turn the collaboration between scientists and teachers into themes bringing current research directly to the classroom, motivating the next generation to pursue scientific and technical careers. Scientists will profit as well by learning to communicate their work to a lay public.

Luiza Bengtsson, Coordinator of the MDC program “Labor trifft Lehrer,” is speaker for the Berlin cluster. The coordinator of the “Teacher and scientists” project is Helga Fenz, a teacher in the Gläsernes Labor.

Working together to produce knowledge: participants in the "Teachers and scientists" program will work hand-in-hand to improve classroom teaching. Photo: Karoline Kirschner, Science on Stage Germany e.V.

Further information on the “Teachers and scientists” program in German can be found at