New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

From Aerospace to Classroom: Physics in Context of Atmosphere Remote Sensing

Veronika Beyer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (Germany)

Tobias Schüttler, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (Germany)

Raimund Girwidz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (Germany)

Dieter Hausamann, German Aerospace Center (Germany)


To students, physics might seem to be far from reality. In particular atom and molecule physics is an abstract topic. The project outlined in this abstract offers an innovative way to teach atom and molecule physics in context of remote-sensing of the atmosphere. As many context-based initiatives, this approach intends an increase of students’ interest and motivation. Furthermore, context-based learning leads to better cross-linking of knowledge. As the topic doesn’t only contain of physics but also climate change and changing of the ozone layer, it is very meaningful to students. Illustrated aspects of interdisciplinary work in aerospace also cause the students’ interest.

Previous concepts integrating methods of remote sensing into science education are substantially based on geography. A joint project of German Aerospace Center (DLR) and European Space Agency (ESA) has been the basis for the innovative concept resulting in our workshop, which is novel for authentic context-based teaching of introductory atom and molecule physics. Its essential topic is the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) installed on the European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2). GOME investigated the ozone layer by remote-sensing. The workshop intends to teach atmospheric processes and the measuring principle of the satellite sensor by using physical concepts.
The modular structure of the workshop permits its successful handling almost independent of students’ prior knowledge. Focussing on single modules the teacher can easily respond to the students’ interests, e.g. greenhouse gases, climate change or the ozone layer. The implementation of the workshop contains numerous experiments, e.g. spectrometry and analysis of gas-mixtures. A poster will illustrate conceptual and didactical realisation.
The pilot-phase of the project has taken place at DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen. An evaluation with 40 students doing pre- and post-test was realised there. The great success of the introduced workshop is illustrated by the students’ rating: 77.5% think the lesson did reasonably complement school’s science education. Items on term-knowledge and on self-assessment reveal the positive learning effect of the workshop.
By now, schools often do not have technical equipment to execute the whole workshop. As the pilot-phase at DLR_School_Lab was successful, we will next adapt the workshop to instrumental settings of schools and thus implement the project at real classrooms.

Keywords: atmosphere, remote sensing, satellites, context-based, extra-curricular education;


[1] (08.01.18)
[2] Purkis, Samuel J., “Remote sensing and global environmental change”, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011
[3] Cracknell, Arthur P., “Introduction to remote sensing”, Boca Raton [et al.], CRC Press, 2007
[4] Nentwig, P. & Waddington, D. (Eds.), “Context based learning of science”, München / Münster [et al.], Waxmann, 2005, pp. 27-29, 305
[5] Bennett, J., Hogarth, S. & Lubben, F. “A systematic review of the effects of context-based and science-technology-society (STS) approaches in the teaching of secondary science” [review summary], Research paper / Dept. of Educational Studies, 2005/02, York: University of York, Dept. of Educational Studies.

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