Institute for Physics and Technical Education

TLL for Physics: PHyLa

On the one hand, the project days offered by the Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) for Physics provide a learning environment outside the classroom for pupils living in the Karlsruhe metropolitan area. On the other hand, the lab offers students the opportunity to gain first teaching experience at an early stage as the project days are developed, enhanced, and carried out by students of the programmes in Teacher Education.

We are open to all types of schools and to all levels. Though the focus of the lab's activities is on primary level and secondary level I, we also carry out projects for secondary level II, which we can realize thanks to our cooperation with the KIT.

Structure and schedule of a project day

Our Lab offers project days on various topics relating to physics that can be attended by school classes. Visits usually take place on Thursdays or Fridays in the morning and should preferably be integrated into the corresponding school curriculum for maximum effectiveness.

The project days take three hours on average and include several breaks. The emphasis of the project days is on having pupils experiment freely. To this end, we allow them to draw on our extensive pool of materials. Visiting the Teaching and Learning Lab is free of charge; however, prior registration is required.

Thematic focus: The physics of climate change

It is beyond doubt that humans are the main cause of global warming. Initiatives such as Fridays for Future prove that the younger generation has recognised the importance of ensuring the habitability of our planet.

We are facing a complex challenge that can only be met on the basis of sound scientific decisions. However, this requires sufficient knowledge of the physical causes and interrelationships in order for pupils to be able to follow the social discourse and derive their own options for action. The Teaching and Learning Lab therefore focuses on developing and implementing projects on the physical aspects of the anthropogenic climate crisis.

Available project days

1. Why is our earth getting too warm? The basics of climate physics

For pupils at primary schools

Climate data for Karlsruhe recorded over the last 250 years show that the city is getting hotter and hotter. But what is the reason for this? Together with the pupils, we will carry out experiments to investigate the factors influencing the earth's climate. Using models and performing experiments, the pupils will elaborate on the question of “why is our earth getting too warm?”.

Physical concepts taught (suitable for primary school children): Heat, temperature, warming of the earth, heat transport by thermal radiation, absorption and reflection capacity of surfaces.

2. Why do migratory birds not need a navigation system? Magnetism

For pupils at primary schools

Every year, migratory birds change their habitat for several months. Though covering very long distances they never “get lost”. The project day on magnetism uses this context to illustrate the properties of magnets and to explain how they work and how the earth's magnetic field is structured.

Physical concepts taught (suitable for primary school children): Magnetic field, structure of a magnet, earth's magnetic field.

3. Thermoregulation in the body

For pupils at secondary level I

How does the human body warm itself in arctic cold and how does it cool itself in the blazing sun of the desert? The project day on thermoregulation in the body addresses these questions and examines how the body regulates its temperature. Experiments are used to help pupils understand the ways in which body temperature regulation works.

Physical concepts taught: Temperature, heat, heat transport by thermal radiation, conduction, convection, energy.

4. Colour and colour mixing

For pupils at secondary level I

This project day focuses on light and colours. How can colours be mixed, how does light influence our perception, and how do we actually perceive colours in our eyes? In many experiments, answers to these questions are sought and the exciting properties of light and colours are investigated.

Physical concepts taught: Additive and subtractive colour mixing, the visible spectrum of light.

5. Keeping an eye on the eye

For pupils at secondary level I

This project day looks at the eye from the perspective of physics. For example, we will examine how the eye is constructed and how the eye manages to keep our vision sharp in very different situations. Against this background, pupils will be introduced to the physical basics of optics, such as light refraction and the properties of lenses.

Physical concepts taught: The ray path through the lens, refraction of light, accommodation, etc.

6. Tracking down energy

For pupils at primary schools

Energy plays an important role in many situations in everyday life, whether it be eating breakfast, driving a car, climbing a mountain or using light and electricity. As early as at primary school, the concept of energy should be introduced in general studies and the basis for an understanding of energy should be laid. During this project day, pupils will perform a variety of experiments to discover some of the everyday scenarios in which energy plays a role. The project day is directly linked to the required sub-competencies of the curriculum for general studies ( and should ideally be attended prior to the project day “Sun, water and wind: We discover renewable energies”. 

Physical concepts taught: Energy as a physical concept, energy transmission, energy storage.

7. Sun, water and wind: We discover renewable energies

For pupils at primary schools

The project day revolves around the topic of “regenerative energy”. Among other things, pupils will learn what the term “regenerative energy” means, how a solar cell works, and how electricity can be generated using wind turbines and water wheels. Through various experiments, the pupils will learn about important aspects of regenerative energy. These practical examples help to make the topic of renewable energy more accessible and comprehensible.

Physical concepts taught: Energy as a physical concept, energy transmission.


The Teaching and Learning Lab is funded by

Last updated: 04.01.2024
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