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Climate Literacy

Projects SaerbeckPLUS, EnergieweltenPLUS, BriCCS (Bringing Climate Change to School), and Klub (teaching and negotiating climate change)

In order to meet the ever-increasing challenge of climate change, society must formulate and pursue common goals (in Germany, for example, the Energiewende) if future generations are to have a future worth living in. Some of these goals seem to be in contradiction to one another. This leads to uncertainties, there is often no “right” way. On the other hand, possible solutions are often compromises, which in turn require a willingness to engage in dialogue and strategies to raise awareness of one's own and other people's interests, and to evaluate them critically. Education for sustainable development (ESD) must provide the cornerstone for overcoming these challenges, in the form of both school and extra-curricular activities, which prepare people for dealing with uncertainties and, in addition to knowledge, also provide strategies for finding solutions. The aim of such education is "climate literacy", i.e. knowledge, skills and motivational factors that are important for a constructive discussion of climate change and the related decision-making processes for society as a whole.

In the closely linked projects presented here, central issues of knowledge transfer, in-school and out-of-school learning and teacher professionalization are pursued:

 

Project SaerbeckPLUS (coordination: Hanno Michel)

 

The Klimakommune Saerbeck and the IPN are pursuing four aims with the SaerbeckPLUS project:

  1. Further development and sustainable establishment of a competence and transfer center for renewable energies and climate protection - the Klimakommune Saerbeck 2.0 - with an additional focus on heating and mobility
  2. Further development of the Klimakommune as a place of knowledge transfer and science communication with significant strengthening of national and international networking
  3. Further development of the Klimakommune into a transfer workshop for energy, heating and mobility change in the context of climate protection and climate change
  4. Identification of relevant influencing factors for the successful transfer of the Saerbeck concept to other locations

In the project funded by the BMBF, the IPN takes on the preparation, coordination and implementation of a Citizen Science project with the aim of imparting knowledge and developing communal solutions for the energy and mobility transition in rural areas. As part of an accompanying intervention study in a pre-post design, the effects of climate literacy and other factors on the quality of the solutions developed, the identification with them (“ownership”) and the further intention to participate and act are examined. At the end of the project, successful measures by the climate municipality should be processed as best practice examples in a guideline for other municipalities in such a way that they can be used efficiently by other actors.

 

Project EnergieweltenPLUS (coordination: Kathryn Leve)

 

Directly in the Saerbeck bioenergy park, a mix of wind energy, photovoltaic and biogas plants, the student-lab Saerbecker Energiewelten operated by the Klimakommune Saerbeck e.V. has been offering educational opportunities for school classes for several years. With a variety of rooms, several accessible energy technologies directly on site (photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass, storage technologies) as well as a large number of different companies (e.g. Enercon, EGST, Envitec) and universities (University of Münster, Münster University of Applied Sciences) close by, the learning location offers unique opportunities for the realization of a nationally important competence center for education for sustainable development as well as for career orientation with a focus on the energy transition. The IPN and the Förderverein Klimakommune Saerbeck e.V., together with the zdi-Zentrum Kreis Steinfurt and the ZfsL Münster, are pursuing the following goals with the EnergieweltenPLUS project:

  1. Innovative career orientation for the energy transition: Thanks to the large number of companies that are located directly at the bioenergy park, students can get to know professions, courses and apprenticeships in the field of energy transition up close and personal. Various course and event concepts are being developed and tested as part of the project.
  2. Interdisciplinary and practical training and further education for (prospective) teachers on education for sustainable development: With direct reference to authentic learning environments, teachers learn new methods and content and try out how they can sensitize pupils to the environmental effects of their actions and consumption . The offers will be researched at the IPN on issues relating to professional knowledge in the context of climate literacy.
  3. Further development of the developed module system of the Saerbeck energy worlds as well as evaluation, accompanying research and knowledge transfer to other locations.

 

Project BriCCS (Bringing Climate Change to School; coordination: Carola Garrecht)

 

The purpose of the BriCCS project is to contribute to fundamental knowledge about the prerequisites for future generations to cope with human-made climate change, and about characteristics of learning opportunities for teaching climate change within science education. Besides knowledge and skills, future citizens must develop attitudes and other non-cognitive personal characteristics like motivational orientations to finally act in a climate friendly manner. Science education research has shown that the perception of risk by the individual plays an essential role in this context. Also gender effects were identified. Following up to these fundamentals, the first goal of the BriCCS-project is to elucidate how the different aspects of climate literacy interplay. Secondly, we intend to reveal which aspects of climate literacy characterize individuals that are already taking action for a climate preserving way of life (e.g. in the Fridays for Future movement). Science education at school lays the ground for a lifelong development of knowledge and practices necessary to cope with climate change and its impacts. Also, science education can trigger affective-motivational features of the students that together with their knowledge may lead to actions limiting climate change and its impacts. So far, empirically assured findings are lacking that show which characteristics of learning opportunities in science education are relevant to support climate literacy. Building on the findings of its first two parts, the BriCCS project’s third aim is to contribute to filling this gap.

 

Project Klub (teaching and negotiating climate change; coordination: Carola Garrecht)

 

The global warming of our earth, also known as climate change, is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The central aim of the present project is to prepare the topic of climate change for educational purposes in order to investigate and promote students’ socioscientific decision-making. The project is based on preliminary work from the project Tube - Tierversuche verstehen und bewerten.

Within the framework of this project, we aim to investigate to what extent the particular context (animal testing vs. climate change) and the criteria-led structure of the teaching (criteria-led vs. non-criteria-led) show effects on the promotion of students’ socioscientific decision-making. For practical use in schools, this project will result in (1) an evaluated best practice module on climate change and (2) a catalogue of criteria as a basis for the instructional preparation of climate change as a topic in science education. For the field of science education research, a piloted instrument for measuring students’ socioscientific decision-making in the context of climate change will be developed.

 

Current cooperation project: ReNEW (Hanno Michel), EnergyBio (Dirk Mittenzwei)

Project-related publications:

(1)    Mittenzwei, D., Bruckermann, T., Nordine, J., & Harms, U. (2019). The Energy Concept and its Relation to Climate Literacy. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 15(6). DOI: 10.29333/ejmste/105637

(2)    Michel, H. (2020). From local to global: The role of knowledge, transfer, and capacity building for successful energy transitions. WZB Discussion Papers SP III 2020 – 603. Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung

 

Persons involved:
Carola Garrecht
Kathryn Leve
Dr. Hanno Michel
Prof. Dr. Ute Harms