Topic outline

  • Summary

    From September until November 2012 students of the Goethe-Gymnasium raised the question of the contribution that certain research institutions in Austria had made 20 years after the memorable world summit in Rio de Janeiro for climate change.

    In a first phase, relevant issues - primarily in the field of science – were taught and deepened by means of lectures and field trips. In a second phase, students conducted their own research and interviews with renowned scientists / experts on the current state of research. The results of this inventory were presented during the first pupils "Environment Conference" on 13th of November 2012.

  • Aims

    One of the aims of the project was to enable the students to acquire knowledge in the field of environmental themes and to acquire knowledge on how to work scientifically.

  • Main activities

    Students had to work on 14 different topics such as ethanol fuel, climate change etc. At the end of their work, they had to write a report on the current state of these topics in Austria. To present the results they decided to hold a conference (pupils to pupils), the first one of this kind, which reached 300 students. In this combination it became an outstanding project.

  • Involved actors

    Mainly teachers.

  • Connection with the curriculum

    Strong connection to environmental education and with education to prepare students to work scientifically.

  • Where to find the application or case

  • Content

    At the beginning the students of the 7th and 8th classes gathered information in the issues of climate, climate change, climate adaptation, climate impact research, etc. They also had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge by attending two expert lectures at the school.

    Then they were asked to select relevant issues from a pool of more than 40 threads and to start their own research work. Therefor they had the opportunity to make interviews with renowned scientists and experts relating to the topic and the current state of research. Each student was finally asked to write a report in which his/her own special issue was presented, and in addition to create and submit a personal portfolio. The students with the best contributions have been invited to present their work on the Pupils Congress on 13th of November 2012 which was held in the premises of the Goethe-Gymnasium in the context of short lectures and to present a poster exhibition.

    This project was a huge success; students were very ambitious as they had the possibility to do interviews with well-known, sometimes even prominent (H. Kromp-Kolb) experts and scientists on their topics.

  • Relation to a green topic and curriculum

    The chosen topics included issues of hydrosphere as well as of atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. The pupils interviewed several experts in these fields.

  • Being interdisciplinary: Drawing upon many academic disciplines and teaching methods

    The students got in contact with on the one hand scientists and researchers, on the other hand with experts in several occupational fields like for example agricultural economics, biota, water economy, energy supply, land use planning, mobility, lifestyle or nutrition and sustainability.

  • Relevance to the daily life of students

    Nearly all the topics the students had chosen are connected to daily life – be it water, nutrition, sustainability, energy supply, mobility, issues of climate etc.

  • Based on accurate and factual professional expertise

    In a first step the students had the opportunity to familiarize with the topics by listening to experts and by interviewing them. During the project they had broad access to the knowledge of experts, scientists and researchers and could involve the teacher’s project team to give any support they needed.