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25-May-2016  Düsseldorf / Germany

Henkel Forscherwelt: When children learn about science

“The sparkle in the young researchers’ eyes”

Five years ago, Henkel launched the international education initiative “Forscherwelt” (Researchers’ World) in Düsseldorf with the goal of stimulating children’s spirit of discovery and taste for research. A lot has happened since then: Dr. Ute Krupp, Head of the Henkel Forscherwelt, tells us about her most wonderful experiences and what makes the initiative so special.

By visiting "Forscherwelt", children have the chance to conduct their first scientific experiments involving gluing, washing/cleaning, cosmetics, and sustainability.

What was your most wonderful experience in the five years you’ve spent at the Forscherwelt?

Ute Krupp: It was definitely the day when the children came through the doors of the Forscherwelt in Düsseldorf for the very first time. It was the Tuesday morning after Easter in 2011 – I still remember it precisely. The children were absolutely delighted and began their discovery tour immediately. The sparkle in the young researchers’ eyes made it worth all the effort and preparation – and still does! It was a wonderful feeling, which I’ll never forget.

Do you have a favorite experiment?

Ute Krupp: There’s an experiment in the area of dental and mouth hygiene that I think is great, because it explains the cause of cavities with very simple means and illustrates complex chemical processes. The goal of the experiment is to study the effect of acidity on substances that contain calcium. To do this, we use eggshells as a model substance for teeth, because our teeth contain the same calcium compounds that are attacked by acidity. The children only need one piece of eggshell, some regular vinegar and a small beaker. The central question of the experiment is: What does acidity do to the eggshell? When the young researchers then understand what this actually means for their teeth, it boosts their spirit of discovery.

What do you think makes the Forscherwelt special?

Ute Krupp: In the Forscherwelt, we can realistically mimic research processes through experiments and make these tangible for children. This is because all of our experiments are rooted in real research. The moment when children understand fundamental relationships, draw conclusions and acquire knowledge is always fascinating to see. It can be precisely observed. I’m particularly pleased that our didactic concept, which we developed together with Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), is also successful abroad and allows us to work very constructively with public authorities and institutions. The Forscherwelt concept now also exists in Russia, Argentina, Turkey and Ireland.

For more information, have a look at the news telling more about the five years anniversary of Henkel Forscherwelt!