Climate Change(s) Cities

Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies in urban environments: A concept to promote students‘ evaluation competencies through exploratory learning

Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund


Impacts of global climate change have long been noticeable in Germany. Densely populated areas are especially affected by regional climate changes, e.g. extreme heat in summer, elevated air pollution, and effects of weather extremes like heat waves, storms, and heavy rainfall events. In the context of climate change, urban regions are of high importance due to increasing land consumption for housing and infrastructure and the fact that more than 70% of the German population live in cities. In addition to climate protection, development and implementation of adaptation strategies are necessary for long term conservation of life quality.

The project “Climate changeS cities” aims to encourage adolescents to evaluate the consequences of climate change in cities and to develop sustainable adaptation strategies. The project is a joint cooperation of the geo-ecological out-of-classroom teaching laboratories of the three project partners: Heidelberg University of Education (Department of Geography, Research Group for Earth Observation – rgeo), University of Trier (Didactics of Geography), and University of Bochum (Didactics of Geography). It is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU).

The focus of the project is the combination of three components: observation (urban surroundings), experiment (in and out-of-classroom teaching), and action (societal and personal implementation of adaptation strategies). This is in compliance with the methodical and didactic triad developed for the preceding project ReKli:B. The students are encouraged to develop their insights as unassisted as possible in order to promote individual space-related coping skills for climate change impacts in urban areas.

The project partners jointly develop the teaching modules using different regional, content-related, and methodical-didactic emphasis. The research teams will work on the three educational topics “Urban ecology and biodiversity” (Heidelberg), “Health and risk prevention” (Bochum), and “Urban climate and urban planning” (Trier).The modules will be developed, tested, and implemented in the three project cities in cooperation with at least five partner-schools each.

A key aspect of the project is the open and free access to the teaching-laboratories as an out-of-classroom place of study. Contents and methods of the modules are based on governmental education requirements and offer links to topics and methods in all fields of science education. Inclusion of the modules into the regular school curriculum is possible and highly encouraged. The teaching modules are constructed as advancing “building blocks” in order to adapt them for different ages (student age of approx. 11 to 17 years) and different school levels. Each module starts with a basic “building block” and can be extended with blocks of advanced levels to reach further stages of complexity. The modules are complemented by suggestions to integrate them into the schools’ science curriculum. 

Structure and intended fields of action of the project “Climate Change(s) Cities”
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