Learning by doing - The zdi school laboratory landscape in NRW

In the course of their school career, students acquire an enormous amount of theoretical STEM knowledge. However, the capacities of the dedicated teachers are often not sufficient to really delve deeply into possible fields of application. The zdi student laboratories can help here and answer important and future-oriented questions for the students: What use is STEM knowledge to me in everyday life? And what STEM knowledge do I need in which job? In addition to the zdi networks, it is above all the state-wide zdi school labs that guarantee practical knowledge transfer and inspire schoolchildren for the STEM field in the long term. At the end of June 2021, another zdi student laboratory will open at the Deutsches Museum in Bonn and will make it clear once again: MINT is experienced with skin and hair in zdi student laboratories.

"What you have to learn to do, you learn by doing." What the Greek philosopher Aristotle propagated more than 2000 years ago is the guiding principle and recipe for success of zdi.NRW. At extracurricular learning locations throughout North Rhine-Westphalia, children and young people experience the principles of scientific and technical practice up close. Above all, the zdi student laboratories are characterized by a strong connection to everyday life and practice. During their visits to the zdi school labs, schoolchildren learn early on how exciting the STEM field and how important their school knowledge can be for their future life. They also gain in-depth insights into the working and professional world. 

zdi school labs make up almost ¼ of the nationwide school lab landscape

There are more than 380 student laboratories throughout Germany, of which more than 70 are zdi student laboratories. The zdi school laboratory landscape represents the largest network of school laboratories in Germany. Due to the local community offensive zdi.NRW, North Rhine-Westphalia is playing a pioneering role in relation to extracurricular MINT learning locations - both in Germany and Europe, because zdi.NRW is the largest MINT -Network in Europe. For more than 15 years, zdi actors have been gathering in-depth knowledge about successful extracurricular STEM education. The result of this continuously growing wealth of knowledge: offers in the field of STEM subjects that are particularly highly qualified in terms of content and didactics, and courses that are often fully booked. The zdi school labs represent the operative arm in the zdi landscape. The aim is to create places for schoolchildren of all ages where they can experience MINT, try them out, work, do handicrafts and explore. The zdi student laboratories do not have to be anchored in one place. There are also mobile zdi student labs like this MINT mobile, who bring practical MINT educational offers to the school in their region.

Interface between theory and practice

The zdi student laboratories are mostly located at universities, in companies or museums. The zdi school labs are used to create experimental (self-)learning environments with a laboratory character that could not be more multifaceted: from Green FabLab in Kamp-Lintfort, which deals with renewable energies, environmental efficiency and ecological footprint Wood factory in Harsewinkel, in which everything revolves around the material wood, up to the Lab4U in Oberhausen, which aims to arouse students’ interest in digital careers. The range of topics in the zdi school laboratory landscape covers the entire MINT area and even goes beyond that. Because STEM disciplines never stand alone, they always have an impact on related disciplines. Since June 2021, the latest addition to the student laboratory landscape has been this zdi student laboratory at the Deutsches Museum in Bonn. Here children, young people and entire school classes can experience the development of natural science and technology from its origins to the present day. In the zdi courses, which are close to everyday life, everything revolves around topics such as climate and the environment, the production of YouTube videos or exploring one of our favorite drinks, milk. The job profiles of food chemist, media designer or process mechanic for rubber technology are made palatable to the students. 

The zdi school laboratory F.LUX in Arnsberg is dedicated to the history, present and future of "making light". To the post.
For their outstanding work, two zdi school labs were awarded the LeLa price . To the report.
as NanoSchoolLab at the University of Duisburg-Essen lets students look into the smallest of worlds. To the interview.

zdi school labs essential for successful STEM education in NRW

When founding a zdi school laboratory a few things to note. For example, a zdi school laboratory must always be affiliated with one of the 47 zdi networks. The zdi networks are regional associations of actors in the field of MINT competence development who are well networked with regional schools or companies, from which the zdi student laboratories definitely benefit. As part of zdi.NRW, the employees of the zdi school laboratories can take part in the offers of the zdi state office, which include, for example, further training offers and exchange formats. Nationwide, the zdi student laboratories are represented by the zdi state office at the Federal Association of Student Laboratories LernortLabor. Some zdi student laboratories have already been awarded the LeLa prize for their outstanding achievements.

zdi student laboratories make a significant contribution to successful STEM education in NRW. They show students ways in which they can apply their STEM knowledge in a very practical way and get them excited about STEM in the long term.

Are you interested in zdi student laboratories in your region? Here you will find a list of all zdi student laboratories.
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Do you have any questions about zdi student laboratories? Here you will find further information and contact personswho will be happy to help you.

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