Almost 30 years ago the discovery of hot vents in the calderas of the earth’s longest mountain range was a scientific sensation! Completely independent of sunlight, hidden down to depths of more than 2000 meters, specific bacteria fix carbon. This organic material is the food source for a bizarre and unique fauna. Giant tubeworms lacking a gut, thousands of shrimps swarming around the hot chimneys, or mussels piling up meters high in crumple space, are just a few examples of this fauna. In the past as well today the fascination with this habitat, which holds countless secrets, is ongoing. It is the aim of extreme 4 kids to awaken the curiosity of students with an interactive, multidisciplinary program and to share the knowledge of the earth’s largest habitat – the deep sea and it’s hot vents - using new media.

Our program allows teachers to develop an individual course for the respective levels of education and classes, and to conduct these in the form of project weeks. Using scientific topics such as marine biology, oceanography, volcanism and the origin of hot vents in the foreground, we also explore the technology of research vessels and submersibles as well as the daily life on board and the different professions like seaman, ship’s cook, sub-pilot and captain.

Moreover the students can put their experiences and new found knowledge into artistic rendition. A further objective of this program is to relieve the anxiety of communicating in the English language, because the students can choose the language in which they want to do their programs.

The girls´ interest in natural sciences will be specially encouraged since we want to show that it is possible also in Austria to combine a scientific career with a family. Note that our team leader has a son and goes on expeditions for about a month every year; also seven of eight students in the team are female, two of them having little children.

Extreme 4 kids is carried out within the current research project “Community Study of Hydrothermal Vent Meiobenthos from 9˚50’N East Pacific Rise and Adjacent Off-Axis Sediments” (FWF P16774-B03; 11/2003-10/2006) as part of the outreach program. The former includes the costs of 220.000. - € For two Alvin dives and five persons on board of the research vessel.


Target group

Educational program for classes of all school types throughout Austria. Students age between 6 and 16.