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From glacier to classroom: peer-to-peer communication to foster curiosity in science

English title From glacier to classroom: peer-to-peer communication to foster curiosity in science
Applicant Naegeli Kathrin
Number 194500
Funding scheme Agora
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Start/End 01.08.2020 - 30.09.2022
Approved amount 58'034.00
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Keywords (5)

science communication; peer-to-peer; climate change; glacier; diversity

Lay Summary (German)

Viele Jugendliche sind heutzutage sehr interessiert an Klima- und Umweltthemen und wollen sich für Veränderungen einsetzen. Oft scheitert die aktive Umsetzung von Ideen jedoch an fehlendem Hintergrundwissen, unzureichender wissenschaftlicher Unterstützung oder mangelndem Selbstvertrauen. Um das zu ändern erarbeiten wir interaktive Mini-workshops, die Teilnehmerinnen einer Girls on Ice Expedition mit Unterstützung einer Wissenschaftlerin an ihren Schulen durchführen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele

Mit dem Agora-Projekt Girls on Ice: Using Immersion to Inspire Interest in Science bieten wir wissenschaftliche Gletscherexpeditionen für junge Frauen an. Die Teilnehmerinnen erarbeiten ein eigenes wissenschaftliches Projekt und nehmen Klimaveränderungen am direkten Beispiel des Gletscherschwundes war. Sehr positive Rückmeldungen auf Präsentationen an den Schulen der Teilnehmerinnen, sowie das Ziel, den Wirkungskreis von Girls on Ice zu erweitern, liefern die Motivation für das Projekt From glacier to classroom: peer-to-peer communication to foster curiosity in science. Über die Mini-Workshops werden wir zu einem tieferen Verständnis klimawissenschaftlicher Themen beitragen, Jugendlichen einen Einblick in die Arbeit von WissenschaftlerInnen geben, sie zu kritischem Denken und Hinterfragen anregen und die Kommunikation wissenschaftlicher Themen mit Medien und Politik diskutieren. Durch direkte Vermittlung dieser Themen durch Gleichaltrige wird das Interesse an der Thematik und die thematische Grundlage für (klima-)politisches Engagement gelegt.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Bildungsstand der Eltern sowie Geschlechterrollenverteilung spielen eine wichtige Rolle bei der Berufswahl. Über Zusammenarbeit mit LehrerInnen und SchulsozialarbeiterInnen wollen wir der strukturellen Unterrepräsentation bestimmter gesellschaftlicher Gruppen in naturwissenschaftlichen Berufen entgegenwirken.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.07.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Name Institute

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
171620 Girls on Ice: Using Immersion to Inspire Interest in Science 01.03.2017 Agora
182765 Reconstruction of pre-industrial to industrial changes of organic aerosols from glacier ice cores 01.03.2019 Project funding
174888 High-resolution spatial and temporal variations in albedo of ablating ice - drivers, patterns and dynamics 01.10.2017 Early Postdoc.Mobility


The active involvement of the Swiss youth in regional and national climate strikes and related actions indicates an increasing interest of young people in global climate change. Many young students are very well informed and want to be part of political changes and to be heard in scientific debates. However, participation and active involvement comes along with background knowledge, support from the surrounding environment and last but not least self-confidence. Some young people lack this support, interactions, and access to information or miss self-confidence to take action and adapt themselves to coming changes.We propose a project that focuses on mini-workshops at schools particularly designed for above-mentioned young people. We will enhance the dialogue about the scientific process and related scientific facts about climate change impacts on the alpine environment and glaciers, in particular. This project builds on the experiences gained during the on-going SNF Agora project Girls on Ice: Using Immersion to Inspire Interest in Science , where 15-17 year old women participate in glacial science expeditions. In parallel with the existing program, our new approach aims at broadening our target group by directly reaching students of all genders from different schools and classes, and to increase the support network for students.We strongly believe that discussions about climate change and its impact on society has to take place in all socio-demographic groups and school levels. The changing cryosphere and alpine environment is ideal to demonstrate, understand and discuss impacts on nature and society due to global atmospheric warming within Switzerland and at a greater spatial scale. The participants of Girls on Ice Switzerland 2020 (Agora no-cost extension until 31.7.2020) will lead a post-expedition mini-workshop at their school, with the support of one of the science instructors. This will greatly increase the number of people impacted by Girls on Ice , its philosophy and information about the greater context of climate change affecting Switzerland's cryosphere. We plan to continue with yearly Girls on Ice expeditions including the proposed mini-workshops and contacts with ambassadors in subsequent years. The strength of this communication method is the mix of personal expedition-experience of a peer and work-experience of a scientist in a setting that allows for actual questions and conversations. The peer-to-peer communication as well as the interactive structure of the mini-workshops opens the floor for honest, scientific-based and diverse discussions among young students supported by science-ambassadors.