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Discover the hidden world of microbes! (mi-WELT)

English title Discover the hidden world of microbes! (mi-WELT)
Applicant Kovar Karin
Number 151517
Funding scheme Agora
Research institution Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW)
Institution of higher education Zurich University of Applied Sciences - ZHAW
Main discipline Experimental Microbiology
Start/End 01.04.2014 - 31.03.2016
Approved amount 206'209.00
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Keywords (8)

workshops; crossmedia format; non-fiction book; class projects; creative activities; biotechnology; microorganisms; primary school children

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Mit dem miWelt-Projekt („mi-“ für „meine“ oder „mikro“) suchen Wissenschaftler/innen, Künstler/innen und Journalist/innen den Dialog zum Thema Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie mit Kindern im Alter von sechs bis zwölf Jahren. In enger Zusammenarbeit möchten die Beteiligten mit illustrierten Geschichten, thematischen Aktivitäten und Experimenten im Labor die Neugierde für die Biotechnologie wecken.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Das miWELT-Projekt will mit einem umfassenden pädagogischen Konzept Kindern im Primarschulalter (und ihren Eltern) die Grundlagen der Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie näherbringen. Die Kinder erkunden die „unsichtbare“ Welt der Mikroorganismen, ihr Vorkommen im Alltag sowie ihre Nutzung im Labor. Anhand von illustrierten Geschichten, Rätseln und Experimenten wird das Thema anschaulich und sachlich korrekt vermittelt. Betreute Labortage bilden den praxisorientierten Hintergrund. Die Inhalte werden in einem Sachbuch für Kinder gesammelt und auf einer Webseite zur Verfügung gestellt. Im Projekt wird besonders Wert auf die Harmonie von Texten, graphischer Gestaltung und begleitenden Aktivitäten gelegt.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Die mikrobielle Biotechnologie ist zu einem festen Bestandteil von wissenschaftlichen und industriellen Prozessen geworden. Das Wissen über ihre Grundlagen ist für eine Gesellschaft die Voraussetzung dafür, verantwortungsvolle Entscheidungen zu treffen. Durch den intensiven Austausch zwischen Fachpersonen aus Wissenschaft, Kunst und Journalismus soll die Biotechnologie nachhaltig ins öffentliche Bewusstsein gebracht und der Wissenschaftsdialog mit Kindern angeregt werden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.02.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Christine Merseburger, local politician, Wädenswil Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Ms Ruth Schärer, Ferienpass Stadt Wädenswil Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
SGM (Swiss Society for Microbiology), Outreach Workshops, Dr. Massimo Caine & Prof. Karl Perron Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Several primary school teachers Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
JK Consulting s.r.o. (Professor John Brooker and Ms Katerina Svoboda) Czech Republic (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr Leona Paulova, University of Chemical Technology (ICT) Prague Czech Republic (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Kinderforscher an der TUHH, Gessine Liese & Julia Husung Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr Thomas Münch, Givaudan SA, Dübendorf Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Department of Foundation Studies in Science (AWG), ZHAW, Maggi Lussi & Caroline Hyde-Simon Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Several Industry Contacts: Lonza AG. SecureCell AG Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Ms Barbara Bertschi, Tagesmutter Wädenswil and Bertschi Language Services Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Professor Emeritus Thomas Egli, EAWAG & Microbes-in-Water Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Class talk: Visible invisible - a comic lecture International 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Class talk: Visible invisible - Alina and Conrad discover the small side of the universe International 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Laboratory visit: Bioreactors & micoalgae German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Laboratory workshop: Discover the hidden world of microbes (part of holiday pass) German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Laboratory workshop: In pipette pursuit of algae (part of holiday pass) German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Pre-print: Sichtbar unsichtbar - Alina und Conrad entdecken die kleine Seite des Universums German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientific event: Poster - miwelt: Discover the hidden world of microbes (part of SSM annual meeting German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Workshop (outside): In pipette pursuit of algae (Part of camp discovery) German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Comic: Die Knete lebt German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Eine Ausstellung macht Forschung und Lehre erfahrbar Zürichsee-Zeitung / Bezirk Horgen German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Experimental manual: Hefe bläst den Ballon auf German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Installation - Laboratory bench for young and old (part of ScienceComm'15) German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Installation: Laboratory bench for young and old (part of exhibition 'Umwandlung') German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Performance at public event: Wonderbox - Blackbox (part of 'Hochschulspektakel' Wädenswil) German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Performance in public: Wonderbox - Blackbox (part of SCNAT 'Forschung live') German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientific event: Poster - Gross klein mikro (part of SSM annual meeting) Italian-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientific event: Poster - Hands-on science for primary school children (part of SSM annual meeting) Italian-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientific event: Presentation - Hands-on science for primary school children (SSM annual meeting) Italian-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Die Welt der Mikroorganismen entdecken Newsletter Transfer, Nr.3 -2014 German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Giveaway: Sticker on agar plates German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Performance - A vendor's tray full of biotechnology (part of ScienceComm'14) German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Performance at public event: A vendor's tray full of biotechnology (part of graduation market) German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Performance at public event: A vendor's tray full of biotechnology (part of 'Hochschulspektakel') German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Poster - Gross klein mikro (part of ScienceComm'14) German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions School workshop: Discover the hidden world of microbes International 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientific event: Poster - miwelt - A science dialogue for biotechnology (part of BioTech14 Prag) International 2014

Abstract

Microorganisms provide the foundation for life as we know it, yet few people are aware of the essential role they play. A lack of specific knowledge and vocabulary, as well as the absence of open dialogue on scientific research, contribute to misunderstandings of such issues, and needs to be addressed at the level of primary school education with everyday life examples. With scientists (as dialogue partners for the children and their parents) in close collaboration with artists and journalists, the mi-WELT intends to bridge the current gap in public awareness and knowledge of microbial biotechnology by combining science and creative activities in a sustainable way.The concept of mi-WELT is, via graphic arts and creative activities, to trigger and enhance the enthusiasm of children for science. The children’s enthusiasm may in turn stimulate the interest of their parents. A child-friendly knowledge-based (science) dialogue is to be initiated using established structures (school holiday programmes, platforms to distribute pedagogic materials for primary schools including specialised programmes promoting the interests of gifted pupils), information sessions for the general public, and packages for individual study in the family. Concise clear messages, along with activities that promote creative thinking and exploration, are provided through several workshops, a non-fiction book and an internet forum. Children explore the microscopic world through stories (finally collected in a non-fiction book), illustrations, quizzes and experiments that are attractive, descriptive, interesting and factually correct. Several stylistic means are combined to enhance the storyline (i.e. analogies, geographical and historical journeys, zooming-in principle) but the microorganisms are not humanised in a misleading way. The tactile human factor is introduced to the texts through twins (a girl & a boy), whose adventures form a scaffold connecting the different stories about microbes, told to them by their grandmother, a former scientist. Regular formative and summative evaluations are collected from children, as the primary target group, as well as from several secondary groups (including teachers, parents, the press and the general public) and the advisory board. These findings are fed into on-going content and graphic development, and used to enhance already existing material. The entire network is designed to interact with regional primary school pupils on the invisible, amazing world of microbes and to shed light on the daily work of a scientist, but as such, may also serve as a model for future wider dissemination.
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