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Breaking stereotypes about scientists

A collaboration between Native Scientist and the Goethe-Institut London creates resources for teachers of German to use in the classroom and show that scientists are human too.

When asked about scientists, children and adolescents often describe them as geniuses dressed up in lab coats with glasses, with crazy hair, and working day and night in the lab. A new collaborative project of Native Scientist and the Goethe-Institut London invites adolescents to discover six German scientists and to find out more about their work. What do scientists actually do in the laboratories? How and why did they become a scientist? Do they have a life outside the laboratory?

The project named “Scientists are human too” or “Wissenschaftler sind auch nur Menschen”, in German, tells the story of six German scientists living and working abroad and presents six step-by-step experiments in the fields of biology, geology, physics and engineering for pupils to do. From November 2018 the booklets with these scientists' stories are available for download here. German language teachers from selected schools all over Europe will use them as resources to promote the integrated learning of German and science.

As explained by Dr Kerstin Beer, coordinator of the project, “German language teachers are paired up with science teachers from the same school and during language classes, students discover the story of a scientist and perform the designed experiment. In the end, students will be given the opportunity to present and discuss their results with the real scientist, learning more about the specific science field and the life and career of a scientist.”

“The booklets can be used by teachers to encourage the learning of German, to present role-models and showcase future prospects” says Simone Pfliegel, coordinator in Northwestern Europe for Schools at Goethe-Institut London.

The Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. It promotes knowledge of the German language abroad and fosters international cultural cooperation. Its cultural and educational programmes encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement.

Native Scientist

Native Scientist is a non-profit enterprise based in the UK that develops and implements projects that connect pupils and scientists with the aim to promote science and language literacy. Founded in 2013, it reaches over 1000 pupils a year and counts with a network of 800+ international scientists in Europe.

For more information please contact the coordinator of this project, Kerstin (


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