Katrin Knickmeier in the plastic labThe Kiel Science Factory (Kieler Forschungs-werkstatt) of the Excellence Cluster "Future Ocean" is the Mecca of teachers and students who want to get fit primarily to understand and protect the ocean and generally live in a sustainable way. Led by the incredibly committed director, Dr. Katrin Knickmeier, the workshop team has an impressive list of offers "in stock" and is a source of countless innovative teaching and learning opportunities around marine research for all.

Mundus maris finally had an opportunity in early November 2018 to visit the Science Factory in order to get an idea of the modern working methods that enable citizen science in practice. We also saw the Workshop as an impulse for participatory learning and research in the much more modest context of the Small-scale Fisheries Academy in Senegal, which seeks to provide answers to the questions of the men and women in the business about better access to research results on issues they face and which are of great importance to them and how they would also like to be actively involved at least partly in the research process.
Katrin Knickmeier in the lab room with Whiteboard and reading cornerIn Kiel, everything had started with the closure of an ecology research institute and the availability of the original instruments and equipment for new tasks so as not to be "disposed of". Katrin Knickmeier saw her opportunity come and suggested the development of the Kiel Science Factory in the premises of the dissolved Wolf Research Facility in the University's botanical garden. Marine scientist with heart and soul and mother-manager, she knew how important practice-oriented learning is. She succeeded in attracting all involved entities to working towards this goal. The forward-looking orientation towards public effectiveness of the Excellence Cluster "Future Ocean" contributed to paving the way for the Kiel Science Factory. 
This was 2012. The Kiel Science Factory was founded as a joint institution of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) and the Leibniz Institute for the Education of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (IPN). Since then, the team and the laboratory offers have been growing steadily. The motto invites engagement.

Wondering. Experimenting. Trying.
Where learning is fun!

Excursion Box PlasticIn the thematic laboratories, pupils, teachers and student teachers deal with scientific questions from the marine and nano-sciences.

They learn more about the societal aspects of energy, gain access to current topics in human medicine and biological research or learn why soil is more than just dirt.

The offer is quite diverse in terms of topics and target groups.

In addition, the Factory participates in public events such as the Kieler Woche or the European Researchers Night and is currently coordinating Citzen Science projects on plastic waste.

Reducing plastic waste in the sea and avoiding new entries as far as possible was the theme of this year's World Oceans Day, something which set new records in participation.

A selection of macro plastic collected during excursionsThe Science Factory offers practical excursion boxes on loan to schools and youth groups interested e.g. in exploring plastic in the water, on the beach and elsewhere in the environment. The boxes contain original research equipment and practical guides. Taking one along for field work on micro- and macroplastics is a boon.

The results of many excursions are transmitted to scientists and incorporated into the analyses of the loads of various types of plastic waste. The diversity of large plastic waste items was often surprising despite many educational efforts. The Kiel Children's University had already addressed the topic intensively in 2017.

The offers for different age groups also in relation to other exciting topics are available mostly in German.

You can discover more about the great labs, such as the ocean lab, here. And there is really a lot to discover. HAVE FUN!

One of the cool lab rooms Friendly lecture room