Helmholtz Day in the HZB School Lab

Guest at HZB: the 5th class from primary school "Am Lindenpark" in Nauen. © HZB/S. Zerbe

Eva (l.) and Kim (r.) told us what they like best about the Helmholtz-Day at HZB.

Find out how an electric motor works - this was one of the questions the students had to answer.

Do you know who Hermann von Helmholtz was? At this question, most of the primary school kids shook their head. Yet, the namesake of the Helmholtz Association was one of the most important natural scientists of the 19th century, and one of the last universal scholars. To keep his memory alive, Helmholtz Day has been held regularly, this sixth time in the Helmholtz Association’s School Lab. HZB invited 5th grade pupils from Nauen (Brandenburg) to Wannsee to conduct their own experiments in the School Lab.

“We put together an exciting programme for the Helmholtz Day: the pupils learned something about the life of Hermann von Helmholtz and were then able to do their own experiments on the subject of magnetism. They thoroughly enjoyed working in the School Lab, and they stayed concentrated the whole time,” says Dagmar Köpnick-Welzel from the HZB School Lab.

Two kids tell us what they liked best about the Helmholtz Day:

Eva, 10 years old

“I had never heard of Hermann von Helmholtz. I thought it was fascinating that he was not so good at school, but still invented so many things. What I especially liked in the School Lab was the experiment with the electromagnet. I made a ring hover using the magnet; that was really fun. The problems on the worksheets were quite tricky, but it was also fun to guess the right solution words.”

Kim, 10 years old

“My group studied how you can shield magnetic fields. That is important if someone has a pacemaker. I tried out different materials, and it worked best with steel. We spent two hours on the train, metro and bus to get to the School Lab. But it was worth it: we have never done anything like what we did here in school. At school, we are still doing science, but next year we start physics. So I will go into it already knowing a bit more than before.” 

About the Helmholtz School Labs

The aim of the Helmholtz school labs is to make science fun for children and adolescents. Just how much of a success the 29 labs of the Helmholtz Association are can be seen from the high visitor numbers. In 2016, more than 90,000 school students researched and experimented at the Helmholtz Association’s various locations.

The School Labs of HZB are in equally high demand: This year, more than 3,000 school students experimented in one of the two labs.