Videnskabsklubben (The Science Club) is a free-of-charge leisure initiative enabling children in grades 4–6 to study the natural sciences in the same way as children participating in football, scouts and riding lessons.
The purpose of Videnskabsklubben is to create enthusiasm for the natural sciences and pave the way for science to be included in the general education of children and young people in Denmark. The children learn about critical thinking, scientific methods and the latest research in various scientific fields.
In Videnskabsklubben, mentors from upper-secondary school teach the younger children. No teachers are present during the lessons, and there are no competitions or grades. The aim is to have fun together, developing friendships and creating enthusiasm for science.
Videnskabsklubben is found in several major cities in Denmark. In autumn 2019, 37 teams of mini-researchers from 14 cities in Denmark collaborated on subjects such as primatology, microbes and biodiversity.
In the coming years, Videnskabsklubben will be expanded to include particle physics, mathematics and physiology, and more towns and cities will join the project.
University researchers collaborate on organizing the activities, and to create age-appropriate role models, Videnskabsklubben builds relationships and networks between undergraduate students, upper-secondary students, older lower-secondary students and mini-researchers.
Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard, founder and Executive Director of Videnskabsklubben, thinks that knowledge about the natural sciences and scientific methods should be part of the general education of children and young people.
“This is currently not the case, which is a big mistake. Knowledge about both science and the humanities is important for understanding what being human in the world means,” she says.