Hustle and bustle on the stairway in campus building GW2: on this day, some 200 school pupils from Bremen and the surrounding area converged on the University. The young people came to gather information on the topic of refugees and migrants, for over the next few months they will be taking part in a school project called “Bremer Stadtfoscher” [Bremen town researchers]. In the course of the project, they will investigate the topic of refugees and migrants in a geographical, historical, and political perspective. The scheme was initiated by social scientists at the University of Bremen who want to inject new stimuli into school classes.
More than 15 exhibitors took part in “Markt der Ideen”
At an event to mark the project’s launch called Markt der Ideen [Ideas market], museums, archives, institutions and associations of different kinds set up stands in GW2 to provide the pupils with some expert information and help them decide which particular aspect of the theme they should pursue. There were 15 exhibitors in all – among them the Federal Bureau for Political Education, the University of Bremen’s International Office, the Landesfilmarchiv [State film archive], the Bremen State Archive, and Verein Zuflucht – Ökumenische Ausländerarbeit [Refuge association – ecumenical work with foreigners] As the project’s leader, Professor AndreasKlee, explained: “The event `Markt der Ideen` is designed to encourage pupils to identify areas of interest in their social environment and formulate accordant research questions”. With this in mind they were given the task to inquire about the exhibitors’ work and how they go about it, so they could get ideas and help for their individual projects.
“The pupils showed great interest”
Lara, Siena and Louisa had already decided on their research topic: “We want to find out what brings people to leave their homes and come to us”, say the 14- and 15-year-olds from the Cato Bontjes van Beek-Gymnasium in Achim. To get some preliminary information they visited the stand of Bremen Information Center for Human Rights and Development (biz). “The girls showed great interest”, says Birte Habel, a biz representative. Other pupils also asked her about her work and sought help in finding a topic. “One group came to me because they wanted information on culture shock for their project”, she says. The biz worker obviously enjoyed the event and talking and giving advice to the young people. The pupils will present the results of their research at a public event to be held shortly before the summer holidays.
About the project “Stadtforscher”
The “Bremer Stadtforscher” project has been taking place once a year since 2010. The original idea came from the Center for Didactics in the Social Sciences (ZeDiS) at the University of Bremen. Scholars in the subject areas of politics, geography, and history joined together to provide innovative ideas for school classes in the social sciences. They cooperate closely with partner schools and school teachers. The aim is to give pupils taking part in the Stadtforscher project some experience of investigating a concrete town-related topic and an introduction to research-based learning. In so doing, they come into contact with methods of the humanities and social sciences. The young people choose their topics themselves. They also decide themselves which persons, institutions, and projects they want to cooperate with to research and realize their own individual project aims. The projects begin in the second school semester and end before the summer recess. Specially trained students enrolled on the University’s Trainee Teacher Program accompany the pupils as project tutors. The “Bremer Stadtforscher” project is supported by the Sparkasse Bremen.
For further information please take a look on the Stadtforscher Website.
Partner schools in the project:
- Oberschule Findorff
- Cato Bontjes van Beek-Gymnasium
- Oberschule am Leibnizplatz
- Altes Gymnasium
For more information, please contact:
University of Bremen
Faculty of Social Science
Center for Didactics in the Social Sciences at the University of Bremen (ZeDiS)
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