04.02.2000

teutolab-Chemistry – the original! Prototype for German school labs since 2000

After just one year of planning, the teutolab Chemistry is launched on 4 February 2000 in the presence of the NRW Minister of Education Gabriele Behler. This hands-on science laboratory for pupils is the first of its kind at a University and becomes a prototype and model for other similar laboratories for school children. Its conception owes much to the driving force of the chemist Professor Dr. Katharina Kohse-Höinghaus.  

teutolab – hands-on laboratory for pupils at Bielefeld University, 2016.

Source: Universität Bielefeld

A win-win-situation
The idea was as simple as it was ingenious. Everybody benefits: Pupils conduct interesting research-related experiments and overcome their awe of the possibly unpopular natural sciences. The faculties of the natural sciences gain, because they ensure a long-term supply of young talent. In the medium term, partners from industry benefit from the ongoing recruitment of young scientists. The lab idea is also advantageous for schools, because they can offer their pupils and teachers accessible instruction in comparatively expensive subjects accompanied by didactic support, despite having limited financial resources themselves. Finally, it benefits the teacher-training students because they have the opportunity to demonstrate their didactical skills during their studies.

The teutolab Network

Not long after the founding of the teutolab Chemistry, it became apparent that the hands-on laboratory at the Faculty of Chemistry would not be able to cope with the high demand from schools – a total of 100,000 have pupils visited it since its founding – due to its limited spatial capacity.  As a result, the teutolab Network was founded in 2002 with schools that make themselves available locally as satellite laboratories. The network, which received an award from the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft (Donor’s Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany), covers schools in the entire region, but also throughout North Rhine-Westphalia. Satellite laboratories have even been set up in Berlin and abroad, helping to ensure that the teutolabs at Bielefeld University continue to be a success story.

  • Inauguration of teutolab Chemistry in the presence of NRW Minister of Education Gabriele Behler (centre) on February 4, 2000. With her (from left to right): Helmut Steiner (Managing Director of the University Society Bielefeld), Professor Dr. Katharina Kohse-Höinghaus, Karl Peter Abt (Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ostwestfalen in Bielefeld), Bernd Brunemeier (MdL) and Rainer Wend (MdB).

    Photo: Norma Langohr
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Anniversary event “10 Jahre Teutolab” (“Ten Years Teutolab”) on 6 February 2010 at Bielefeld University. 800 children conducted a chemistry experiment, narrowly missing out on an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

    Photo: Norma Langohr
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Colourful chemicals bubble in front of spellbound children.

    Photo: Norma Langohr
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Impression of the teutolab Chemistry.

    Photo: unknown
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Impression of the teutolab Physics.

    Photo: unknown
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Impression of the teutolab Mathematics.

    Photo: unknown
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Impression of the teutolab Robotics.

    Photo: unknown
    Source: Universität Bielefeld
  • Impression of the teutolab Biotechnology.

    Photo: unknown
    Source: Universität Bielefeld

The teutolab family at Bielefeld University

The founding of teutolab-Chemistry was followed by the founding of teutolab Physics in 2003, teutolab Mathematics in 2005, teutolab Robotic at the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) in cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence “Cognitive Interaction Technology” (CITEC) in 2009, and finally teutolab-Biotechnology in 2011. The teutolabs are open to all year groups and school types and offer activities for specific target groups, for example pupils with disabilities or who are highly gifted.