Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
12.1-2 Communication geosciences and higher education teaching
Thursday, 23/Sept/2021:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Malte Junge, Mineralogische Staatssammlung München (SNSB-MSM) / LMU München
Session Chair: Sylke Hlawatsch, RichardHallmann-Schule

Session Abstract

Geoscientific questions are increasingly relevant in our daily life. However, the public awareness of geoscientific topics is very limited. Therefore, it is important to inverse the visibility of geoscientific challenges and solutions in our society. Communicating geosciences to a broader audience implies the use of innovative strategies for public outreach. We have to encourage kids to become enthusiastic about geoscientific topics already in schools and leisure activities such as museums. Besides public outreach and school education, we also need to motivate geosciences students to address geoscientific challenges to the public. The current situation with the worldwide digital teaching atmosphere brings varies challenges but also opportunities in optimizing e-learning methods in the higher education teaching including digital field trips, microscopy inspire other digital lectures. The aim of this session is to discuss and report on existing and future initiatives as well as connecting people with similar motivation.

1:30pm - 1:45pm

Virtual Outcrop Models - Chances and Challenges for Geoscience School Education

Sylke Hlawatsch

Richard-Hallmann-Schule, Germany

Geoscience has a key role in adressing the challenges of sustainability, yet in German schools a regular subject such as Earth sciences does not exist. Teacher feel uncomfortable with teaching the content and unless an infrastructure for geoscience education - including educational research and systematic teacher training - is implemented in all 16 German states this situation is unlikely to change. Thus geoscience outreach activities play an important role in informing the society about the processes that determine the continuous development of the Earth as a system. Can they also contribute towards geoscience school education?

The 3D digital model of the outcrop „Devils Table“ ( was used for instruction in an applied science course called „Geoscience“ with students aged 14-16 years. The aim of this small exploratory investigation was to find out, whether the students were able to identify the rocks characteristics only using the model and to what extend they deduced sensible conclusions about the development of the landscape from their observations. After that, the students received the information provided by the scientist online and were asked to verify their own assumption rsp. to identify and correct misconceptions.

All students showed interest in the task and developed their understanding of the Earth as a dynamic system. The learning outcomes and challenges will be presented and suggestions discussed that can help to enable teacher and students without geoscience background to profit from the digital outcrop models.

1:45pm - 2:00pm

Modelling with the Geowindow

Dominik Conrad1, Tom Klaus1, Gregor C. Falk2, Matthias Faller2

1University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany; 2University of Education Freiburg, Germany

The Geowindow offers an infrastructure to create analog models in geographic contexts, it is a “test tube” for visualization; not only of static images but also to display processes in the Earth system. Thus, it is an interactive teaching and learning device for all Earth Sciences.

Due to their enormous temporal and spatial dimensions, most of the complex structures and processes in the context of the earth´s systems and cycles cannot be observed directly. In addition, many geoscientific phenomena remain hidden below the surface.

The Geowindow is an innovative tool for geography lessons allowing to visualizing dynamic and systematic processes of the Earth system. The potential to simulate human impacts on different scales offers a wide range to support an education for sustainable development.

During the last years, the Geowindow has been further developed in a professional way. It offers the experimental infrastructure for modelling many geoscientific structures and processes and is suitable as a teaching and learning tool for all types of schools, as well as for earth science courses in higher education.

The presentation introduces the technical features and various methodological options of the Geowindow. Secondly, we will demonstrate how a geowindow can be used to model different geoscientific processes like the formation of coal, the formation of groundwater or the Eruption of a stratovolcano.

Eventually, we present our project website, which provides tutorials, demonstrations, movies and written guides to support the classroom implementation.

2:00pm - 2:15pm

Geoscience Education for the Young Generation: mileko - The Mineralogical Science Kit

Maria Mrosko1, Lennart A. Fischer2, Lutz Hecht3, Bastian Joachim-Mrosko1, Malte Junge4, Gilla Simon5, Roland Stalder1

1Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography, University of Innsbruck, Austria; 2Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Freiburg, Germany; 3Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Museum für Naturkunde, Germany; 4Mineralogical State Collection (SNSB-MSM), Munich, Germany; 5SNSB - Museum Man and Nature, Munich, Germany

Geosciences only play a minor role in today’s German and Austrian school curricula, although being strongly related to important topics such as climate change and sustainability of resources. The Mineralogical Science Kit (Mineralogischer Lehrkoffer ‘mileko’) aims at bringing back geoscientific and mineralogical contents into STEAM-fields (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) by linking mineralogy to regular teaching subjects.

In 5 different modules pupils can not only discover the world of rocks and minerals but also get an understanding of important principles and processes such as redox reactions when extracting copper from ore (chemistry), the density of rocks which can be linked to the structure of the Earth’s interior (physics, geography), or how the inner structure of materials affects their outer appearance by exploring natural crystalline bodies and their geometry (chemistry, mathematics).

Since 2014, about 650 boxes were produced and sent to schools and museums all over Germany. 2020 marked the starting point for the implementation of a rent-a-scientist-program as well as a network of lending stations, where boxes can be borrowed by schools or be used to host workshops for teachers and pupils in-house. In 2021, the development of a video format is planned that will improve and expand the applicability of the Mineralogical Science Kit by presenting relevant geoscientific topics to a wider public.

This new digital format combined with presence activities like workshops and school visits will enhance discussions between children, teachers and scientific experts resulting in knowledge transfer from the scientific community to the public.

2:15pm - 2:30pm

Participation of Potential Visitors in an Exhibition Concept Based on an Online Survey

Lina Seybold1, Simon Schneider1, Malte Junge2, Melanie Kaliwoda2, Gilla Simon1

1Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany; 2Mineralogical State Collection (SNSB-MSM)

A new Geosciences campus will be built in central Munich, that will also house an innovative exhibition on geosciences, the Forum der Geowissenschaften. A team of scientists, curators and museum educators has started to plan the exhibition in the last year.

Currently, a catalogue of topics for the forthcoming permanent exhibition is being prepared. As the topics that we as experts find most interesting do not always coincide with the interests of the public, potential visitors should be involved in the planning process. Therefore, we have conducted an online survey to ask the audience which topics they would like to see in the future Forum der Geowissenschaften.

Participants were asked to rate a wide range of topics according to their interest on a Likert-scale reaching from ‛highly interested’ to ‛not interested’. Moreover, participants were invited to indicate other topics which they find interesting. The survey was distributed via several digital platforms to reach a broad audience and received more than 750 responses. First results indicate variations in interest regarding different age groups, but also between educators and scientists.

Overall, the survey provides a large database about the targeted audiences that will help to refine the exhibition concept. We assume for example, that topics might be rated with low-interest due to insufficient and ineffective communication in the past. Therefore, we aim to create new curiosity for these topics by adopting modern approaches to science communication.

2:30pm - 2:45pm

Geotopes as a tool for geoscience teaching and outreach

Anke M. Friedrich

Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany

Traditional geological field education includes organized trips of large student groups to geological outcrops. Typically, instructors guide students to outcrops and give (mini-)lectures, such that the students’ notes consist of the provided verbal summaries instead of one’s own sketches and descriptions of outcrops, often leading to poor reports. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented group-travel to geological sites, which halted such forms of teaching. To continue field education despite the contact-restrictions, I designed an alternative way of field-based learning through proactive engagement of students in trip planning, site selection, outcrop study, discussion and report writing. The concept involves (1) geotope-sites provided by survey offices (e.g., Geotoprecherche LfU Bayern), because they contain precise outcrop locations and just the right amount of relevant geological information allowing students to visit geotopes of their personal interest on their own. It also involves (2) a shared project on GOOGLE EARTH WEB to which students post field photos, sketches and text, which they present in (3) in the weekly zoom-seminars (geotope seminar). Instructors provide feedback and stimulate discussion among participants based on the presented field observations. The resulting sketches and reports are of higher quality because they are exclusively based on the student’s concentrated work at the outcrop (only 2 per day), although no instructor accompanied any student in the field. The geotope seminar accommodates day trips, multi-day field exercises and mapping projects for geoscience students of all ages and interests. Geotope courses could be offered to the broader public if site access is secured.

2:45pm - 3:00pm

A key option to transfer geosciences – relate geoheritage to fun

Marie-Luise Frey1, Christine Hogefeld2, Pascal Schmitz3, Klaudia Wolf4

1Welterbe Grube Messel gGmbH, Germany; 2Welterbe Grube Messel gGmbH, Germany; 3Welterbe Grube Messel gGmbH, Germany; 4Welterbe Grube Messel gGmbH, Germany

Many attempts up to today exist to transfer geosciences to the general public. Some started at the beginning of the 20th century. It is surprising that only since the beginning of the 21st century with the formation of the European Geoparks Network in 2000 and the Global Geoparks Network in 2004, a new, consequent professional way of transfering geosciences was implemented. This includes information, education, geotourism, sustainable development of territories and at sites, e.g. Messel Pit World Heritage Site. These activities have opened people’s minds that landscapes are not „ugly, dirty and dead“. A starting signal was given to explain geoscientific phenomena with discovery activities, enthusiasm, passion and fun for children as well as for adults. Holistic views were initiated and not only fossil or mineral collections presented. By marketing beautiful landscapes, aesthetics of volcanos or reef limestone areas with caves, the interest of large amounts of visitors was raised. A key option however, found during about 18 years of geoscience knowledge transfer is to link up having fun within landscapes, with rocks, fossils and to enjoy a better understanding of where people live. Hands on activities have been reduced to zero during the pandemic of 2020. But why Earth is dynamic, changes landscapes and homes of people, this can be transmitted by edutainment games. An important aspect of this is geo-gamification: virtual and or by hands on, for „Generation Z“, as a key to attract students and too make people aware about the exciting planet Earth we live on.