Topic outline

  • Summary

    Secondary school students (15-16 years of age) learn in a learner-centred learning environment about energy use, fossil energy and renewable energies. The emphasis lies on how saving fossil based resources by saving energy and using renewable resources like biomass, wind, water and sun. During the first part of the learning scenario the students working with offline material. In the second part of the intervention the learners working with an interactive energy game/simulation. The aim of the game is to substitute all nuclear and fossil power plants with renewable energy.

  • Aims

    Positively influence environmental behaviour by supporting system knowledge, action related knowledge and effectiveness knowledge.

  • Main activities

    Working on a student-centred learning cycle.

  • Involved actors

    Teachers, supervisors.

  • Connection with the curriculum

    Biology (Ecology), Chemistry (Hydrocarbons), Geography (Environmental politics).

  • Where to find the application or case

    The setups are stationed at University od Bayreuth. For more information please contact


  • Content

    With the best practice students learn in a self-controlled learning environment about renewable energies. The learning environment consists of two parts: an analogue learning cycle plus an online simulation about renewable energies. The online activity is used for the application and additional reflection phase in the whole learning process. The learning environment contains different working stations:

    1. Learners need to know why investigation in renewable energies is needed. So they have to learn about the problems that emerge from the use of fossil fuels. That’s on one side the climate change caused by burning fossil raw materials and on the other the limitedness of exploitable fossil resources.
    2. Students need options for action. So we show them how they can save energy and also use energy more effective. For this purpose the concept of energy has to be clarified and examples of daily life have to be shown. With help of the provided material and information learners are able to find e.g. out which activity needs most energy in their life. And how to use energy effectively.
    3. To become responsible citizens students have to know about the different possibilities to produce renewable energy:
    • Energy from biomass: Learners find out advantages and disadvantages from gaining energy from biomass, how this energy can be used (as fuel, gas or solid matter) and controversies in society (“dinner plate or fuel tank”). Additionally learners discover how electricity can be won with turbine and generator and how waste heat can be used appropriately.
    • Energy from sun, wind and water: Within the provided learning environment students learns about different possibilities to produce green electricity and discrepancies between different stakeholders.

    Simulation: The used simulation can also be seen as a serious game. It´s a landscape in the year 2013. People using mainly fossil energy and nuclear energy. Aim of the game is to substitute all fossil and atomic power plants with renewable energies until year 2022. Additional challenges are to ensure a continuous power supply and the satisfaction of citizens. Learners must invest in building of sustainable power plants, investigation and citizens’´ information. After work with the simulation students reflect about how society can change their energy use and production to come to a sustainable energy concept.

  • Relation to a green topic and curriculum

    Ecology is content of the biology curriculum of the10th grade in Bavarian high school. An important element of the learning cycle is also sustainability and energy use in Europe. This topic can be found in the chemistry and geology curriculum.

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

    Among other things the curriculum of High school, Bavaria, 10th grade proposes the interdisciplinary topics: Sustainability and Economy and Ecology

    The learning cycle covers also a part of the chemistry and geography curriculum:

    * Chemistry: E.g. the chemistry of burning organic matter and fossil fuels and photosynthesis, global carbon cycle, limited resources

    * Geography: E.g. handling of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect as example for global environmental policy.

  • Relevance to the daily life of students

    Energy supply is necessary for living standard of the students. Electric energy and also energy from fossil fuels for transportation or heating are parts of the daily life of students and teachers.

  • Based on accurate and factual professional expertise

    Professional background of developed learning cycle is ensured by cooperation with research teams and use of current statistics.