Ötzi, Bones and Strawberry DNA – Researchers from F4/Dietary ROOTS at Groß Vollstedt Primary School

Dietary ROOTS at Groß Vollstedt Primary School
No shyness: The medieval bones from Lübeck that Ben Krause-Kyora and Katharina Fuchs had in their science luggage arouse great excitement among the pupils of the 3rd and 4th grade at Groß Vollsted primary school. Full concentration also when experimenting with strawberries "Is this slime here DNA?" (Photos: Friederike Flachsbart, teacher of the class; used with kind permission of the parents).

"Have you ever dug up a dinosaur?"
"Is that a real bone? How old is it?"
"Who was Ötzi's murderer? And why did he escape into the mountains?"
"Wow, a mammoth tooth is sooo big... did people really eat mammoth in the past?"
"Is this slime here the DNA?"

The children from the 3rd and 4th grades of Groß Vollstedt primary school were thrilled by the stories that Katharina Fuchs and Ben Krause-Kyora, researchers in the ROOTS Subcluster Dietary (link), dug up from the past and from their laboratory cupboards. For five hours, they listened with rapt attention about the decisive turns that human history took during the Stone Age, why the ice mummy Ötzi is so valuable for bioarchaeological research, and what old skeletons can tell us about past life. Without fear of contact, they marveled at how big a mammoth tooth was, how different the lower jaws of men and women looked in the Middle Ages, and how razor-sharp that Stone Age tools were. The children showed great talent in a biological experiment in which they extracted DNA from strawberries with the help of conventional household products such as salt and washing-up liquid. Krause-Kyora and Fuchs were impressed by the children. "With such inquisitiveness, the time flew by! This shows how important these topics are for early knowledge transfer. The children will remember this for a long time – and who knows, maybe we have archaeologists of the next generation in front of us here ..." reflects Krause-Kyora. Fuchs adds, "The children's enthusiasm is overflowing! This school day was a nice change from our scientific ivory tower and showed me how easily bridges can be built to the youngest in our society. Definitely something that should play a bigger role in our scientists’ working routine. We were very delighted that the primary teacher, Friederike Flachsbart, invited us to her class room".


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