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Freie Univ. Berlin


The Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) was founded in 1948. Today it is one of the leading research institutions in Germany. Since 2007 the Freie Universität is one of nine German universities which were successful in the federal and state Competition for Excellence and - within this Initiative - it was the university with the most approved funding applications. The FU Berlin is an “International Network university” and has various offices abroad (e.g., in New York, Beijing, and Moscow). This provides a platform for international cooperation and every year more than 600 visiting scientists contribute to the university’s teaching and research. FU Berlin is funded for several new graduate schools and transdisciplinary research clusters. FU Berlin is one of the largest universities in Germany, offering degree courses in more than a hundred subjects for 34,000 students – of which 16 per cent come from other countries. The university employs 401 (full-time) professors and 61 junior-professors, it consists of 15 departments and central institutes as well as 16 graduate schools and 21 collaborative research centres. In the natural sciences, major focus is placed on the life and earth sciences, as well as physics, computer science etc. Research in these areas is carried out on applications of direct relevance for everyday life.

Researchers at FU Berlin regularly open their institutes, laboratories, and libraries to the public to build a bridge between science and society, for example during the “Long Night of the Sciences”, the “Girls’ Days” or the “InFU Days”. The FU Berlin established a special “Centre for Cooperation with Schools” which organizes various activities especially for teachers, school classes and pupils. These include the “Children’s Universities” and “Summer Schools” each year with many activities in special labs for school students. Especially the Department for Chemistry Education offers popular science related educational events (e.g. the “KieWi & Co. programme” [in German: Kinder entdecken Wissenschaft; in English: Children discover Science] or the “Chemistry/Science in a Class of its own”) and special in-service-teacher training courses. Furthermore, many lectures on a variety of topics, as well as courses in the Guest Auditor Program are open to the public and especially for teachers.

Prof. Dr. Claus Bolte, senior professor at the Freie University Berlin and head of the Department of Chemistry Education since 2004, focussed his research activities on the investigation of the student-teacher-communication and interactions during science lessons. He also analysed students’ interest developments in science subjects from primary and secondary school pupils. His current research and work deals with STS-approaches, which foster the development of good and motivating learning environments, to enhance scientific literacy and which promote students’ ability in science as well as their attitudes. Furthermore, he was one of the organizers of the First International IPN Symposium on Scientific Literacy 1995 in Hamburg-Rissen. Since 2002 he has been cooperating in the ParIS-Project (Partnership Industry School) with a special research focus on the question how to promote students’ ability on critical thinking and reasoning as well as how to increase the number of students, who would like to choose a career in the areas of the natural sciences. With the help of his Curricular Delphi Study related to the question “What is necessary and wishful to enhance Scientific Literacy in Germany?” he tries to bridge the gap between students (as subjects and objects of their own formal education) and other important stakeholders (e.g. teachers, teacher educators, science educators and scientists). From 2006 to 2009 he was a member of the PARSEL project, which has been supported by the EC funds of the FP6 programme. The PARSEL project was successfully finished in March 2009 with the “International PARSEL Conference”, which was organized by the PARSEL consortium and hosted by the FU Berlin. During this conference more than 100 colleagues from science educational research, science instruction and school policy administrators from more than 25 countries in Europe as well as from Japan, Thailand and the United States came together to share ideas and concepts of how to enhance Scientific Literacy among European citizens in general and pupils in specific.

Dr. Sabine Streller is a staff scientist in the Department of Chemistry Education. She is engaged in development, implementation and evaluation of new curricular materials. She investigates students' interests in science in longitudinal studies, students’ perceptions of chemistry concepts and approaches to enhance the professionalization of in-service teachers. From the beginning of her work at the FU Berlin she is involved in pre- and in-service teacher-training courses. Before this she worked for several years as a biology and chemistry teacher in different schools. Till now she is still teaching out-of-school science courses (e.g. KieWi & Co.).

Michael Albertus is a research staff member in the Department of Chemistry Education. His research focusses on on the process of occupational orientation in the context of basic science education. Apart from that he is also engaged in the programme "KieWi & Co." (see above).

Manja Erb is a research staff member of the Department of Chemistry Education. Her research is focussing on students’ and teachers’ concepts of inquiry based science learning and how to foster students’ and teachers’ competences in this field. Before she started her research project she worked as a biology and chemistry teacher in Berlin.

Robert Klemm is also a research staff member of the Department of Chemistry Education. In his research he tries to answer the question how students solve scientific based problems through inquiry based science investigations. Before he came to the FU Berlin he was teaching biology and chemistry in selective High Schools in Berlin and Brandenburg.

Claudia Benedict and Nina Bertels are both associated staff members of the Department of Chemistry Education; and both will be engaged in the project, too. Claudia Benedict is a science teacher in a primary school and investigating the development of young students’ scientific concepts of the nature of matter. Nina Bertels is teaching in a Berlin High School. Her research studies are focussing on the self-to-prototype-matching of young people at the end of their school career concerning their self-image and their image of people working in the field of science and technology. One special focus of this work is to figure out how to convince young people that even non academic professions in the sciences are an attractive choice for their future occupation.


Kick off (more)

PROFILES 1st Consortium Meeting
Berlin, 9th–11th December 2010