Five years of the School Lab in Adlershof

<strong>Happy Birthday, School Lab!</strong> Ulrike Witte and Gabriele Lampert (both HZB staff) cut the birthday cake for the guests and employees.

Happy Birthday, School Lab! Ulrike Witte and Gabriele Lampert (both HZB staff) cut the birthday cake for the guests and employees.

© Kubatzki/HZB

To get school students interested in science, to show them the points of contact between research and everyday life – this is the mission of the HZB School Lab. Today, it celebrates its fifth anniversary at Adlershof. Since its founding in October 2010, more than 5,500 school students have come to perform experiments at the premises on Magnusstraße in Adlershof.

For its anniversary, the HZB School Lab invited sixth-graders from its partner primary school, the Grünauer Schule, to come and do experiments. After a project day on the topic of shape-memory materials, there was further celebrating: with a small birthday stand and a cake for the guests and employees.

The School Lab offers two project days a week in Adlershof, where the students can do their own experiments and gain answers to questions. Topics addressed on these project days include solar energy, light and colour, interference and materials research. The project days are thus clearly related to the research being done at the HZB. The experiments and tasks are prepared to suit the respective target groups in the various grades – from primary to high school.
“Many children and teenagers experience quite a different side of science at the School Lab; they have fun experimenting and become amazingly absorbed in their work,” says Dr. Ulrike Witte, head of the HZB School Lab. Word of the chance to get hands-on with scientific topics outside the ordinary school setting has spread quickly among the schools. The dates for one particular school semester for instance, which the School Lab posted on its website for primary schoolchildren, were booked out already twelve hours after they were published.

The School Lab has more organised offers in addition to the project days. A weekly School Lab workgroup is held, for example, for children and teenagers who are particularly interested in science. The HZB School Lab is also actively involved in further education for science teachers.
The HZB School Lab always makes for a popular attraction during other events as well, inviting people to come and experiment on the Long Night of Sciences, Girl’s Day or the Adlershof Research Days, for example. “What is special about this location is the good networking, resulting from its proximity to research facilities and other school labs. That has a positive impact both at the events and in the day-to-day work,” Ulrike Witte says.

The premises of the School Lab on Magnusstraße are brightly lit, spacious and offer plenty of room for experimenting. Pedestrians walking past the big window facade often look curiously in on the intensively working school groups, Ulrike Witte continues. “Sometimes, the kids then proudly wave back, as if saying: look, we’re conducting research here!”

In all, the best birthday present for the employees of the School Lab was the enthusiasm of the children yesterday. As one girl said at the end: “It was fun here, and the cake was yummy. We really want to come back here again. Pleeeaase!”