Kids participation in research: students join scientists to conduct research on selected biological topics and science education

KiP² is a participatory research project in biology education: students join scientists to conduct research on selected biological topics and science education. The focus is on Inquiry Learning – at authentic study sites (“learnscapes”).

KiP² creates an authentic stage for the encounter with scientific research at the University of Vienna. Scientists from the fields of palynology (the study of pollen; “CSI”), marine biology and neurobiology invite school classes to their research facilities (=Bio-KiPs). Together, they then tackle specially selected research topics – for example the organisms and extreme conditions in deep-sea ecosystems ( At the same time, they learn how knowledge is gained in biology (Nature of Science).

Parallel to this, current issues in Inquiry Learning are investigated on site. The participants examine the effectiveness of the learning environment and the opportunities to incorporate such knowledge into classroom teaching. Another goal is to promote the development of the technical/scientific and epistemological discourse of students: understanding science and scientific argumentation are key issues here. The literature shows that traditional research designs bump up against their limits when addressing such issues. KiP² therefore introduces a participatory element for the students and teachers.

The scientific results are discussed with the larger scientific community in the form of symposium contributions and publications in scientific journals.

KiP² models and implements innovations.
A working model developed and tested in the pilot project KiP (“KiP-Pilot” from 2008-2010 is the basis for the cooperative effort between students, teachers and scientists. The second project phase is designed to begin implementing the adapted model in the educational landscape. Here, KiP² links up with two pedagogic universities (Baden, Krems) and the biology teacher curriculum at the University of Vienna: At these institutions, a project-based practical course for Inquiry Learning is being developed. Experienced teachers and scientists from KiP-Pilot, students and schoolchildren are the active participants, reflecting their experiences and the developing of class curriculum for science learning.

The dissemination of this form of Inquiry Learning is being supported by regional networks (IMST –

This project has been completed.