New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Science Outreach Activities on Biomembrane Research in Formal and Non-Formal Settings

Elena von Hoff, Georg-August-University Göttingen (Germany)

Thomas Waitz, Georg-August-University Göttingen (Germany)

Ingo Mey, Georg-August-University Göttingen (Germany)


Modern means of generating knowledge, especially in the field of fundamental research, have so far been hardly perceivable in the eye of the general public as well as in school settings. However, within the context of research funding the demand for science outreach is increasing steadily, aiming at closing the so-called gap between science and society. Based on this development a collaborative science outreach project between the chemistry didactics department and scientists of the interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Center 803 (CRC 803) at the Georg-August-University Göttingen was established in early 2017 which we outlined previously. The projects main goal is to promote the CRCs fundamental research on biomembranes using socially relevant research topics such as drug development and effects, causes of diseases, effects of poisons as well as scientists’ working methods. With regards to these topics we developed a number of activities and materials for the formal and non-formal education sector of which we will highlight two within this contribution – our activities at science fairs and the work with adapted primary literature (APL).
In order to allow the general public to gain knowledge about the fundamental membrane research conducted by the CRC 803 we designed a portable EXPOneer exhibition piece as the central element at science fairs, introducing principle concepts pertaining biomembranes. Coupled with newly developed hands-on and in-depth experiments as well as authentic scientific instruments such as fluorescence microscopes we have been able to engage students as well as interested individuals with varying scientific and non-scientific backgrounds. Another more recent project is the development of APL. Acting as a link between textbooks and primary literature (e.g. scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals), this text form’s goals are not limited to imparting knowledge but offer the opportunity to illustrate processes of modern knowledge generation. In order to give readers the opportunity to gain insights into the work of scientists it is therefore key to adapt the primary literature in a recipient-specific way that maintains the characteristic structural features as well as the argumentative level of the original.

Keywords: Science Outreach, Science Fairs, Adapted Primary Literature;


[1] Osborne, J. “The Potential of Adapted Primary Literature (APL) for Learning, Res Sci Educ, 2009, 39 (3), 297-403.
[2] Phillips, L. M., Norris, S. P. “Bridging the Gap Between the Language of Science and the Language of School Science Through the Use of Adapted Primary Literature”, Res Sci Educ, 2009, 39 (3), 313-319.
[3] Yarden, A, Norris, S. P., Phillips, L. M. “Adapted Primary Literature – The Use of Authentic Scientific Texts in Secondary Schools”, Springer, Heidelberg, New York, London, 2015.
[4] Von Hoff, E. et al. “Membranforschung für die Öffentlichkeit – Ein Kooperationsprojekt zwischen Fachdidaktik und Fachwissenschaft”, CHEMKON, 2017, 24 (4), 165-169.
[5] Von Hoff, E., Mey, I., Waitz, T. “Making Science Visible – Information, Motivation and Participation in Formal and Non-Formal Educational Offers”, New Perspectives in Science Education, Conference Proceedings, 2017, 6, 392-396.
[6] Kampschulte, L., Parchmann, I. “The Student-Curated Exhibition – A New Approach to Getting in Touch with Science”, LUMAT, 2015, 3 (4), 462-482.
[7] Dege, J. et al. “Vom Tensid zur Biomembran”, Praxis der Naturwissenschaften, 2016, 65 (2), 5-10.

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