• Questions concerning climate change from the app "Train 4 Science", Brain City Berlin

    On the virtual train to a sustainable future

“TRAIN 4 Science” encourages children, but also adults, to deal with climate change in a playful way. The ride on the virtual train is about knowledge, one’s own opinion and decisions to act. The app was designed and developed in the Brain City Berlin by a research team from the HU Berlin together with game designers.

“How much do humans affect global warming?”, “Which mode of transport produces the least carbon dioxide?” or “What is the maximum temperature rise that experts think is realistic by the end of the century?” The “TRAIN 4 Science” app asks important questions. And all of them concern climate change. The questions stimulate thought and discussion. Each answer sets a course. The train then moves on, passing all kinds of obstacles – until the next course in the direction of the future.

“TRAIN 4 Science” – the play on words “train” = “train”, but also making reference to “training” is of course intended – was developed as part of a project at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin) for children from the age of 10 and adults. Scientists from the Department of didactics and teaching/learning research in biology worked closely with game designers on this project. The team wanted the participants to playfully become aware of how they themselves feel about climate change and which climate-related decisions they can make themselves in their everyday lives.

The first section of the game asks knowledge questions, the second asks for personal opinions on the topic. Here the players themselves assess how much climate change affects them personally. In the third section, they finally decide which climate protection measures are most important from their point of view. The game can be played both in “solo mode” and as a group. The “class mode” is suitable, for example, for game sessions in class or at university. The app underwent initial practical tests last year at the Neuköllner Opera House and at the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften (Long Night of Sciences), among others.

“TRAIN 4 Science” is also involved in research: At the end of the game, the participants decide whether they want to make their game data available to biology didactic research at the HU Berlin. The game was also designed in such a way that it can be used scientifically as a “cover” for other socially controversial topics – such as vaccinations or genetic engineering.

“TRAIN 4 Science” is funded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, which specifically supports projects in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. Alongside education and research, science communication is one of the foundation’s funding priorities. (vdo)

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