A. Pérez Saturnino1, M. Bollen2, J. Wittbrodt1

1Centre for Organismal Studies (GERMANY)
2Feudenheim Gymnasium Mannheim (GERMANY)
The Centre for Organismal studies (COS) in Heidelberg organizes every year lectures and practicals for high school students. With these initiatives, the students come to COS and learn some interesting aspects about science in a more theoretical or in a practical way. For the first time in 2016 things were turned around and some scientists (PhD students) went to high schools to explain their research. The program was named “COS goes to school”. The scientists gave a lecture in front of a biology class. The students attending this class were mainly in their last year of school. The lecture not only focused on the biological questions addressed in their research and the techniques applied in the lab but the scientists also talked about their scientific careers including what did they study and why. After the talk, there was some time for questions and discussion with the students.

This program is not only benefitial for high school pupils but also for scientists. Previous to the lecture, with the help of a high school teacher and other presenters, the scientists adapted their talks to the knowledge of a high school student. Concepts which are unknown by the students must be identified by the speaker and introduced clearly and well explained in the talk. With this preparatory seminar the scientist learn to simplify and break down complex concepts. This experience also helps the scientists to improve their communication skills.

All in all, the program “COS goes to school” was a very successful and double positive experience for high school students and scientific researchers and the next edition is already in preparation.