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At the Carl Zeiss Microscopy Centre, school children can learn how a microscope works and examine small and tiny creatures from Berlin's soils and waters. At the same time, they familiarise themselves with scientific research methods. The Carl Zeiss Microscopy Centre is member of Schülerlabor-Netzwerk GenaU (Learning laboratories network GenaU).

Open Microscopy Centre

The Microscopy Centre is open every Thursday from 12:00 to 14:00, as well as at special events, where visitors are free to use the microscopes and find out what issues scientists are trying to resolve at a natural history research museum. Visitors can bring in and study their own finds and objects.  

Introduction to Microscopy

Working together with pupils, the components and function of a microscope will be experienced and explained. Starting with an own hair later on living nauplius larvae of the brine shrimp Artemia sp will be examined. This course is particularly suitable for classes that have no or very little experience in using a microscope. In the end each participant will receive a microscope “driving” license as a certificate of the newly acquired skills.

  • children from age 10 and teenagers
  • in German €3.00 (plus  admission), in English €4.00 (plus admission) for 90 min

Microorganisms in a Water Drop

In this course, pupils will observe small aquatic organisms such as the dwarf water lens and the water flea through the microscope. This includes the opportunity of carrying out their own simple investigations and experiments. This course is meant for pupils who have learnt to handle a microscope responsibly and with care.

  • children from age 10 and teenagers
  • in German €3.00 (plus admission), in English €4.00 (plus admission) for 90 min

Minerals and Rocks Detectives

This course allows pupils to discover mineralogy in a playful manner. The young researchers help to identify four unknown types of rock, determining their density, hardness and fabric. The evaluation of their results will tell them what type of rock it is.

  • children and young adults from age 11
  • €3.00 (plus admission) for 90 min

CSI-Fly – Flies in Forensic Biology

In this workshop, pupils turn into forensic biologists. During a short introduction, they learn what flies can tell us about the time of death and the site where a body was found. In the practical part of the course, they then resolve a crime case by studying and identifying fly larvae.  

  • young adults from age 15
  • €5,00  (plus admission) for 120 min
  • workshop in German

Excursions for school classes to the Karower Teiche Nature Reserve

During this excursion children and teenagers explore the Karower Teiche Nature Reserve and the River Panke. Equipped with cup magnifiers, sieves and photo trays, the pupils search their flora and the bottom of the water for insect larvae, worms and small crabs. Depending on the season and time of day, bird-watching may be possible around the Karow ponds. Either on the same or the following day, the samples collected can be examined at the Carl Zeiss Microscopy Centre. Don’t forget to bring your wellies and binoculars!

  • children from age 11 and teenagers
  • €6.00 (per course unit, approx. 120 min)

Further microscopy courses at the Carl Zeiss Microscopy Centre

Work Group to foster scientific talent

The work group  - AG zur Förderung besonderer naturwissenschaftlicher Begabungen - focuses on the exploration of organisms invisible to the eye and their habitats in Berlin’s ponds and lakes. Pupils aged between 10 and 12 use modern microscopes to watch these organisms and their lifestyle, planning their own projects and presenting their results creatively, using specialist terminology. The series ‘From outer space to under the microscope’ looks at the variety of colour and geometrical structure of rocks. In this particular workgroup, participants will familiarise themselves with the workplace of a scientist and the structure of a scientific museum. The group is directed by Michaela Engel, seconded teacher at the Museum.
The work group is funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Jugend (Senate Administration for Education, Science and Youth) and has been developed for pupils aged 10 to 12. It runs for the duration of a school year. Pupils can register under Verbund Nordberliner Schulen zur Förderung kognitiv hochbegabter Schüler.

Cooperative Projects with Partner Schools and Universities

The Microscopy Centre was founded by nine committed scientists from the Museum in 2006. Over the years, many more scientists have taken part in its programmes. In cooperation with school teachers, they develop microscopy classes and projects on biology, mineralogy and meteorite research.
The Carl Zeiss Microscopy Centre offers not only classes for pupils, but also trainings for teachers. Block seminars on flower biology and nutrition that are held half-yearly in the Microscopy Centre have become an integral part of teacher training at the University of Potsdam.

Projects in Collaboration with the Learning Lab Network GenaU

Together with other learning labs and Berlin Heart, Biotronik as well as the Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin, the Microscopy Centre is involved in the project Experimente mit Herz (experiments with heart). Experiment cycles relating to the heart are conducted for pupils from age 16. A series of project days is held at various sites in Berlin and Brandenburg, providing unique and comprehensive insights not only into an interesting topic, but also into various institutions and companies and their research and professional work. More details and exact dates can be found on the Learning Lab GenaU’s website.