German Met Society’s Educational Events for Schools

In times of Climate Change and protests such as “Fridays4Future” younger generations pose questions and make demands regarding what needs to be done to protect our climate. Meteorologists can play an important role in this area because the science of meteorology involves many aspects of climate change. However, it is a challenge to get young people interested in meteorology. Knowledge transfer starts at school – this article summarises some of the activities that DMG (the German Meteorological Society) runs or is involved in in that regard.

One of DMG’s main goals is the provision of meteorological knowledge to the general public. For many years, DMG has been involved in various activities with schools directly or and in other events that aim to share scientific knowledge with teachers.

Below is a short summary of the activities that DMG is involved in:

  • Seminars for teachers to enhance their understanding of meteorology in order to get students involved in Meteorology. Along with the Geo-Research Center (GFZ) in Potsdam, the Berlin and Brandenburg section of DMG organises an annual autumn-school for teachers called Herbstschule “System Erde”, with a different topic each year,  covering relevant areas of meteorology and climate change. A similar event was hosted by the University of Munich, Ludwig Maximilians Universität and DMG-members from the Munich area.
  • Meteorology departments and DMG members in different Universities such as Freie Universität Berlin, Berliner Wetterkarte, Universität Leipzig and Leibniz  Universität Hannover and University of Hamburg host children or student universities. Some of these offer internships to students or “junior-/student-labs”.
  • Joint projects with schools as at the University of Hamburg aim at including meteorological topics not only in lectures on geography but also on mathematics and physics.
  • The University of Leipzig hosts a research facility for school-students called “alma-Lab” and activities within a bigger project called “Youth research” (Jugend forscht). The latter is a well sponsored, famous programme for junior researchers in natural sciences. The department of Meteorology and TROPOS (Leipzig Institute for Tropospheric Research) were involved in a project called “Weather-balloon and flight to the stratosphere”.
  • The “Idea-Expo Hannover”, an exhibition for science and technology, takes place every 2 years and attracts about 360,000 visitors over 8 days. In 2019, Leibniz University Hannover had a booth and demonstrated experiments including some on radiation.
  • Since 2014 Hafencity of Hamburg organises an educational week for schools “Weather, Water, Waterkant” which involves various workshops, lectures and excursions dealing with the topics of climate-change, weather, ecology, sustainability and others. In 2018 there were about 3,500 participants from the area of Hamburg. The event is organised by Climate Ambassadors – Klimabotschafter e.V, and is partially supported by DMG.
  • Girls-Day, Boys-Day, is a one-day event that takes place all over Germany, where small groups of school-students visit universities and institutes to get an overview about research-activities or take part in small internships.
    As I come to the end, I’d like to mention that “social media” and “Fake News” are becoming a bigger part of our society. My conclusion therefore is that there can never be enough activities in schools to educate students about meteorology.
    August 2019
    Inge Niedek, chair DMG
    This is a summary of an article by Dieter Etling published in DMG’s membership-bulletin (Mitteilungen DMG 1/2019).

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