Detailed information about the course

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Service Learning: Microbes go to School


February to May 2023


Dr Saskia Bindschedler, UNINE

Prof. Pilar Junier, UNINE

Prof. Clara Zemp, UNINE

Arthur Schneiter, UNINE



Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that links community service and instruction to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen community service. This approach is particularly suitable for communicating about themes of societal importance that concern both academic research and citizens. In this activity you will have the opportunity to gather the knowledge you acquired during your academic curriculum and learn how to popularize it for children aged 6 to 12, by creating fun workshops designed for kids, based on a theme related to the ecosystem services provided by microbial biodiversity. The overall aim is to enable you to get involved in local communities and to acquire new skills in communication for the general public and in teaching, while consolidating your knowledge with the aim to pass on knowledge in your turn.


You will independently prepare a strategy for transmitting knowledge on a specific scientific topic to a non-specialist audience; in this case, schoolchildren in grades 3 to 8 (approximately 6 to 12 years old). The scientific subject and the way to approach it are discussed between you, the teachers of the classes concerned, and the academic supervisors in order to involve all partners. The only prerogative is to discuss what microorganisms are, their diversity and the importance of this diversity, highlighting if possible the multitude of beneficial actions they can offer to society.

More information available here:


The activity is spread over 3 months from mid-February to late May (30 hours over 13 weeks). The activity is split into five phases:

Phase 1: Introduction and selection of a specific topic (2h on February 22 and 2h in early March),

Phase 2: First discussions of the topic and ideas with the academic supervisors and school teachers (4h spread over 2 weeks in March, specific schedule to be defined with the different partners),

Phase 3: Elaboration and implementation of the activity (independent work representing 10 hours spread over 4 weeks between March and April),

Phase 4: Realization of the activity with children (10 periods of 45 min, spread over 2-4 weeks between April and May, specific schedule to be defined with the teachers),

And finally,

Phase 5: Restitution of the activity to peers and people involved in the program (2h on May 31st from 4 to 7 pm).



University of Neuchâtel



8 places (3 for CUSO students, 5 for DSLS students

Credits: 3.0 (Transferable skills)

Special requirement: A good command of the French language is required


Reimbursements for CUSO students:

- Train ticket, 2°class, half-fare from your institution to the place of the activity.

- NO reimbursement for your meal expenses.


Deadline for registration: 10 February 2023



Deadline for registration 31.05.2023
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