Projects for school students are a great way to stir up enthusiasm for science and climate research insights early on. Reaching out to children and youngsters helps spotlight climate change issues. Numerous CEN researchers actively support this important cause, e.g., by partaking in Hamburg’s School Student Congress (Hamburger Schülerkongress), Girls’ Day, or individual cooperation activities with schools and further institutions:
Hamburgs Night of Sciences
In 2017 Climate and Earth System Research once again joined the Night of Knowledge. In and around Hamburg, universities, external research institution and other academic facilities had opened their doors. Scientists presented an elaborate concoction of twists and surprises from their research. Between 5 and 12 pm, a myriad of activities was offered all across the city, including experiments, interactive events, tours, lectures, films, music, and culinary delights.
At the Geomatikum on Bundesstraße the following research centers explained their work:
- Universität Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN)
- Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M)
- German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ)
- Cluster of Excellence Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction (CliSAP)
- Universität Hamburg’s Center of Natural History (CeNak)
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG)
Forschungsbörse—connecting school students with scientists
The Forschungsbörse science exchange platform for youth is a cornerstone of the Science Year initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF). It encourages researchers to create an online profile with a brief depiction of their specializations on the Forschungsbörse homepage. Schools can invite these scientists directly to in situ lessons. Several CEN members have enlisted and can be booked.
Climate Ambassadors—Wetter.Wasser.Waterkant (Weather.Water.Waterfront)
The Climate Ambassadors—Klimabotschafter e.V. society aims to make school students aware and ignite their passion for important climate issues, such as climate change, sustainability, weather, extreme weather, and more, at a young age. Efforts focusing on young people comprise:
- the installation of over 40 professional weather stations on schoolyards of partner schools: Data from all weather stations is gathered and archived automatically. School students monitor local weather conditions in their neighborhood, compare them with data from surrounding areas, or assess them in a global context. Gymnasium Ohmoor, a secondary school in Hamburg, does this on an annual basis as part of an interdisciplinary learning unit in geography, (climate zones), mathematics (statistics, mean values ...), and informatics (Excel data analysis) at: follow Link.
Current data from all stations is provided at: follow Link (Hamburg Wetter) or follow Link (Klimabotschafter Wetterspiegel).
- regular professional development measures for teachers; and
- activities such as “Klimabotschafter fragen ...” (“Climate Ambassadors ask …”) that give students a chance to grill economics and science experts, e.g., members of the Vattenfall board of directors.
Besides, there is the annual education program “Wetter.Wasser.Waterkant”:
An entire week filled with free educational activities—workshops, lectures, excursions, and a whole lot more—on climate change, sustainability, cradle 2 cradle, etc. The program is conducted jointly with Hamburg’s Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environment and Energy. All offerings are developed and evaluated individually to fit the demands of the City’s educational scheme. In 2016 the program partners realized more than 51 different projects enthralling over 2,700 students.
Cooperation with museums, schools, and foundations
CEN researchers advocate science learning activities at schools or museums; for instance, by acting as guides and by fostering teaching projects or joint projects with foundations during their free time. School students thus have ample opportunities for firsthand experiences in climate sciences.
Moreover, various final university theses were completed in collaboration with school classes and Hamburg‘s Behörde für Schule und Berufsbildung (public service).
“Physics for all”
CEN members show strong commitment to “Physik für Flüchtlinge—Physics for all,” a physics project for children and youth in refugee housing and reception centers all over Germany; its playful learning approach builds on simple experimentation tasks.
School Students Kongress
The School Student Congress initiated by NAT—Initiative Naturwissenschaft & Technik, a natural sciences and technology initiative, took place in Hamburg for the second time. Secondary school students are in charge of organizing the whole conference themselves. In 2017 the focus was on climate change and its impacts on the seas and oceans. About 650 students attended the conference with lectures from various CEN researchers.