New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Making Science Visible – Information, Motivation and Participation in Formal and Non-Formal Educational Offers

Elena von Hoff, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry Education Tammanstrasse 4, D-37077 Göttingen (Germany)

Ingo Mey, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, Tammanstrasse 4, D-37077 Göttingen (Germany)

Thomas Waitz, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry Education, Tammannstrasse 4, D-37077 Göttingen (Germany) (Germany)


In the eye of the general public, research on fundamental principles is mostly intangible as it is mainly presented in ways only experts can understand [1, 2]. This creates a gap between science and society [2, 3] which in consequence raises the issue of the population’s lack of awareness and participation in scientific and educational-political debates.

Since 2009 the interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 803 at the Georg-August-University Göttingen has conducted research on the ‘Functionality Controlled by Organization In and Between Membranes’. As proposed in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, and in accordance to the above mentioned problems, the CRC is placing great value on producing ‘Science with and for Society’ [4], trying to engage the general public in its research activities.

In this context, a science outreach project aiming to foster the communication between science and society, by didactically processing the complex and increasingly diversified fundamental research conducted within the CRC 803, was developed. In order to design corresponding activities as well as materials and to make the developed measures, methods and contents sustainably available to the three targeted groups of students, teachers and the general public, a coordinated and close collaboration between the involved scientific and the chemistry education groups is pivotal. Additionally, the integration of the developed activities into already existing public outreach structures and their further development, including design, implementation, evaluation and optimization, is essential.

In this contribution we will therefore present the outline of this science outreach project, describing the planned activities for the respective target groups as well as highlighting several of the activities already in existence.



[1] Sonderforschungsbereich 803, Functionality controlled by organization in and between membranes, [14.01.2017].
[2] Miller, J. D., The measurement of civic scientific literacy, Public Underst. Sci., 7, 1998, pp. 203-223. 
[3] Miller, J. D., Pardo, R., Civic scientific literacy and attitude to science and technology: A comparative analysis of the European Union, the United States, Japan, and Canada, The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group: London and New York, 2000; pp 131-156. 
[4] European Commission, Horizon 2020 in brief – The EU Framework Programme for Research & Innovation, [14.01.2017].
[5] Bensaude-Vincent, B., A genealogy of the increasing gap between science and the public, Public Underst. Sci., 10, 2001, pp. 99-113. 
[6] Holbrook, J., Rannikmae, M., The nature of science education for enhancing scientific literacy, Int. J. Sci. Educ., 29, 2007, pp. 1347-1362.
[7] Millar, R., Twenty first century science: Insights from the design and implementation of a scientific literacy approach in school science, Int. J. Sci. Educ., 28, 2006, pp. 1499-1521.
[8] Kattmann, U., Gropengießer, H., Michael, K., Das Modell der didaktischen Rekonstruktion-Ein Rahmen für naturwissenschaftsdidaktische Forschung und Entwicklun,. Z. f. D. N., 1997, pp. 3-18.
[9] Steinkuhle, A., Steinem, C., Waitz, T., From surfactants to membranes - a science outreach project connecting high school and university, NPSE Conference Proceedings (ISBN 978-88-6292-469-6),, 2014, pp. 192-196.
[10] Dege, J., Irmer, E., Steinkuhle, A., Steinem, C., Waitz, T., Vom Tensid zur Biomembran, PdN-ChiS, 2, 2016, pp. 5-10.
[11] Kampschulte, L., Parchmann, I., The Student-Curated Exhibition – A New Approach to Getting in Touch With Science, LUMAT, 3 (4), 2015, pp. 462-482.

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