Forscherwelt / Researchers’ World
Societies need people fluent in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Forscherwelt is Henkel’s contribution to scientific literacy.
Forscherwelt, or “Researchers' World” is an educational initiative designed by Henkel to introduce children into the fascinating world of science. Since its inauguration at Henkel’s Düsseldorf headquarters in April 2011, more than 62,000 children around the world have taken part in Henkel’s Forscherwelt programs.
Putting concept into practice is the heart of Henkel’s Forscherwelt. The content is specifically tailored to children ages 8 to 10 and takes a holistic approach towards teaching and learning by putting children into the role and workplace of an actual researcher.
Forscherwelt is an out-of-school learning environment focusing on using scientific methods, critical testing, analysis, interpretation of data, science, and of course: creativity. Through specific learning objectives, children gain insight into the process of scientific inquiry. The classes in Forscherwelt are based on research areas Henkel is active in, i.e. adhesives, laundry, home care, cosmetics, and sustainability. The latter looks into teaching children how to save energy, recycle paper, renew raw materials, general health.
The classes at Henkel’s Forscherwelt are designed so that children work in groups with shared responsibilities, speak to experts, and present their individual group results. The main goal of the program is not only to intrigue young minds to take up science, but to show that science and research takes collaboration and can be an engaging field to pursue. Moreover, it is to prove that research is not limited to being in a laboratory – but that curiosity can be applied to all parts of everyday life.
Forscherwelt Around the World
In 2011, the Forscherwelt kids lab was opened at Henkel's Headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany. Since then, the education initiative has become global. There are "Forscherwelt projects" in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, UAE and USA.
There are currently different types of Forscherwelt program portfolios. The distinguishing factors are dependent on whether the program is hosted at a fixed-location laboratory or within the "Forscherwelt To-Go" model, in which classes take place at selected sites and/or schools. In Dubai, Istanbul and Moscow, Henkel has established a regular program on premises of local educational institutions. In addition to that some countries offer digital programs as well.
The adhesives research program investigates the diversity of adhesives. One of the big experiments teaches children how to turn raw material into glue sticks. Another part of the highlights is a “press conference” with a Henkel Adhesives expert followed by a preparation of a “radio spot” about adhesives and gluing.
Little researchers get to discover what the main ingredients of detergents are: surfactants and bleach. By changing temperature and playing with chemistry, time, and mechanical stress, children witness the reaction of chemicals. The children also learn about perfumes, the importance of packaging, and learning the difference of fabrics and the necessity to choose the right detergent and washing parameters depending on the fabric type.
Cosmetics include many types of products – in this course program, children learn about skin, hair, and oral care. Topics such as the development of toothpaste, the effects of acid on our teeth, the preparation of skin products, and the properties of hair are covered.
Henkel Forscherwelt teaches children that sustainability means using natural resources that our earth can re-make again. Children are taught to use energy efficiently; avoid waste, as well as separate and recycling rubbish; using renewable raw materials; and how to maintain and protect overall health.