NHM Wien School Workshops

two SCHOOL workshops, Four programs

200 Jahre Gregor Mendel: Dem Rätsel der Vererbung auf der Spur

How can we use informal science spaces to encourage a playful, embodied experience of science?

In collaboration with the Deck50 of the Natural History Museum of Vienna (NHM Wien), we developed four public engagement activities in two school workshops to bring the science of inheritance and Mendel's life, scientific process, and legacy to the students of Austria. Deck 50 is a new interactive, immersive science space at the top deck of the NHM with a lab space, an art space, and interactive multi-media space.

The instructions for the second school workshop are now available for download.
Please scroll down to download both English and German instructions and materials.

"Meet a Scientist" performance

Language: German | Ages: 14-16

Straight from the 19th century, Gregor Mendel makes a visit to Deck50 to talk about his experiments and his life, torn between his duties as a monk, the irrepressible drive to satisfy his child-like curiosity and constant money issues. Students will learn about the scientific process, how he derived the rules of Mendelian inheritance, what is important when designing a scientific experiment, and the importance of citizen engagement in science.


Language: German | Ages: 11-16

Our second workshop is designed to teach a younger audience about the different modes of inheritance and how the interplay between inner determinants (genes) and outer determinants (environmental influences) shapes visible traits of an organism. We do some hands-on scientific methods and familiarize the students with basic scientific thinking. It is divided into three parts:

Science Quiz Activity

The students learn about the diverse modes of genetic and non-genetic inheritance. They get to see the physical examples of these in a tour around the NHM's extensive zoological exhibition.

Art-Science Activity:
Mendel's Fantastic Peasts

Then, they play the interactive "Mendels phantastische Erbsenwesen" arts & crafts game. It centers on the effects of genetic factors, environmental factors and the ever-prevalent element of random chance on phenotypical features. In the end, the students have a modular, self coloured cardboard beast they can take home.

Microscope Laboratory Activity

Lastly, the students will stain chromosomes, the carriers of genetic information, to make them visible. They then learn how to operate a light microscope and get to observe the chromosomes they stained.