Linking Engineering and Natural Sciences in a "Nano" Student Laboratory


Contact: Tim Göbel


Studies have shown that students in Germany often do not recognize the relevance of scientific knowledge. Moreover, engineering issues that would show the usefulness of scientific knowledge are hardly ever addressed in school lessons (Höttecke, 2009). Therefore, this research project aims to link engineering and natural sciences by combining the process of engineering development with the process of gaining knowledge in natural sciences. Linking the two sciences is desirable, as this connection in terms of contextualizing scientific knowledge could increase students’ motivation and interest in technical and scientific issues. In addition, this way learners could be supported to a better understanding of the fundamental process from basic research to the finished technical application, which could promote an informed assessment of possible technological consequences as an important aspect of maturity (Göbel, 2019).

In the English-speaking world, initial concepts, which see a positive effect in this merging (Sneider, 2015), have been developed with the INSPIRES program (Increasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science), but a corresponding adaptation is still lacking for Germany.

The planned merger will focus on the field of nano-structures and their relevance for chemistry and chemistry teaching. In this context, a student laboratory will be set up at the University of Kassel. Based on problems close to everyday life, which are relevant in technology as well as in research, the students will be offered insights into methodologies as well as content-related aspects of current technical and scientific research in the prepared learning environment. An atomic force microscope and an atomic force microscope for students (AFMone) will be used to analyze the nanostructures. With the help of qualitative accompanying research, the effects of the developed learning environment will be recorded.




Sneider, C. (2015). The Go-To Guide for Engineering Curricula, Grades 9–12: Choosing and Using the Best Instructional Materials for Your Students. Thousand Oaks: Corwin-Verlag.

Höttecke, D. (2009). Chemie- und Physikdidaktik für die Lehramtsausbildung. 1.Auflage. Berlin: Lit-Verlag.

Göbel, T. (2019). Ergänzung zum bestehenden Angebot zum Themenfeld Nanostrukturen: Entwicklung von schülergeeigneten Experimenten und Analyse ihrer Nutzbarkeit für Untersuchungen mit dem AFMone. Kassel: Onlinebibliothek der Universität Kassel (KOBRA). doi:10.17170/kobra-202007231485