Mädchen im Labormantel bei Experimenten.

On April 24, ZMT's lab teams had set up cool experiments at the institute for 18 pupils from Bremen and Lower Saxony. For Girls' and Boys' Day, the ZMT colleagues each year organise an exciting programme for the children and they do so with great dedication and attention to detail.

At the start, the young guests went on a research expedition in the surrounding area. The children were introduced to various instruments, such as the Van Veen bottom grab, which they used to retrieve "sediment" samples from a small water channel near ZMT - one group even found a mussle in the sample.

Other instruments such as the Niskin bottle were used to take water samples, the Secchi disk to determine the visual depth of the water and the plankton net was used to take samples, which the children later examined under a stereomicroscope. The girls and boys also collected leaf and grass samples outside in order to later determine the pigments of the plants using thin-layer chromatography.

All children stopped at different stations and carried out a seris of experminents supervised by the lab teams:

  • DNA isolation from the oral mucosa: the children were able to take their own DNA with them in an Eppendorf vial
  • Microscopy: we looked at what kind of life can be found in the small canal at the ZMT. In addition to water fleas, copepods and various algae could be seen under the microscope.
  • Algae: the kids were able to make bubbletea beads from algae
  • Experiments: an experiment explained the difference between fresh and salt water and an experiment with red cabbage and lemon juice showed how acidic and alkaline water is produced and why the pH value is important

At the end of the day, a tour of the ZMT's marine aquarium (MAREE) was of course a must, where the kids marvelled at corals, reef fish and jellyfish.

The happy emails that the organisers receive after Girls' and Boys' Day show just how much the hildren enjoy getting a taste of research at ZMT. The event is also a lot of fun for the colleagues in the labs.

"A day like this is a change from everyday research work for us and a highlight for everyone. We are looking forward to more 'Future Days'. Everything was a great adventure for the kids, whether it was taking samples, microscopy, DNA extraction, chromatography of grass or the MAREE tour. Just fantastic," said Silvia Hardenberg and Donata Monien on behalf of their team.

About Girls' and Boys' Day
The nationwide Girls' and Boys' Day for kids from the 5th grade onwards is organised by companies, organisations, research institutions and universities to inform pupils about possible professions and give them exciting insights into the working day of their employees. On the day, the children can explore new professions and spend a practice-orientated day outside of school. The teams from  ZMT's Experimental Laboratories take the lead in organising this day of action every year. They are supported in the preparations by the press and public relations team.