'Arena of Change' workshop: Really good climate

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The sun is shining in Munich this summer afternoon, and the boys and girls are also beaming as they storm into the of the "Arena of Change" (AoC) project room after lunch. "Do any of you still have homework to do?" calls out Teresa Jehlicka. Together with Anna Kronen, she looks after the children as a teacher - and tries to keep control of the group. Not always that easy - after all, the children have already completed six hours of school. Everyone shakes their head, nobody has any homework. "OK, then we can go out and play for a bit!" shouts Teresa. The grounds of the FC Bayern Campus are perfect for this. "The children usually have to calm down first," says Anna.

As well as the learning content, exercise is an important part of the "Arena of Change".

So the team exhaust themselves for half an hour - with a relay race, frisbee and hide and seek. "I like that there are so many trees here on campus, it's easy to hide," says Johanna, 12 years old. "I look forward to the Arena of Change every week," says Inés, 9. "I meet my friends here every Wednesday," says a happy girl with brown curly hair. Aida, 12, and Alice, 11, are also happy to regularly meet friends and experience new things again after lockdown and school closings. The "Arena of Change" programme differs from week to week.

And what's the weather like?

After blowing off some steam, the children are calmer and concentrate better. Maybe because they are interested in the topic, but definitely because the two teachers know how to make things exciting. "Have you noticed anything about the weather lately?" asks Teresa. "It's rained a lot and there have been bad floods in Germany," says Dio, 12. The introduction to the topic of climate change has begun. For the generation of 8 to 18 year olds, sustainability, environmental protection and climate change are particularly relevant but very complex issues. "We think about how we can bring the children closer to complicated topics with experiments," explains Anna. "They can be active and get to know their interests."

How do you demonstrate climate change? An AoC experiment.

For today, the two young women have come up with two experiments. The effect of CO2 on the water level is simulated by dissolving effervescent tablets in soda bottles. The children should then recognise whether the "gas" dissolves more quickly in warm or cold water. The second experiment simulates the melting of the polar ice caps with ice cubes.

The children are divided into teams, they choose a team leader themselves and then solve the tasks. Some children are unable to concentrate, they put their heads together and snort loudly, others immerse themselves with interest in the sheets of paper that describe the task. "Just watch out!" says Konrad, 9, to a boy on his team. Teresa and Anna go from table to table. When they notice some children are losing their concentration, they give them extra motivation ("Come on, you can do it!") - the children often do this themselves.

The blue dye in the ice cube helps demonstrate the melting of the glaciers.

“Wow, that looks really cool!” says Miguel, 11 years old, as he watches the ice cubes slowly melt in the water. A little gimmick: the teachers had previously coloured the ice cubes blue with food colouring. The blue meltwater forms interesting patterns on the surface of the water and has two purposes at the same time: the children are amazed, interested and want to participate. And what's more, the meltwater is clearly visible at the end of the experiment. In any case, 12-year-old Johanna is enthusiastic. "You can really see how the level in the bowl rises after melting."

Learning effect suitable for children

"What did you observe? And what does that mean?" asks Teresa in the discussion that follows. Konrad, 9 years old, reports: "When the seas get warmer, the sea level rises. It's bad for the climate and for us." "Right, Konrad! And what can we do about it?" asks Anna. Again the arms shoot up in rows. As soon as the children are challenged, they are motivated. One of the strengths of the "Arena of Change" is creating a sense of achievement.

"It is important to teach the children about issues in their own world"

Teresa Jehlicka

"It's important to teach the children about issues in their own world," explains Teresa afterwards. "This is the only way to convey content to children in an interesting way." It is also a good addition to traditional school lessons. "We deepen the knowledge imparted in the classroom," says Anna. "Or work out our own topics with the children." So far, they have recycled paper in the "Arena of Change", and also discussed children's rights. Employees from FC Bayern Munich and SOS Children's Villages Worldwide will soon be invited to give the children an insight into their professional world.

Before the holidays and what happens next

The afternoon is drawing to a close. Together, the group goes out again briefly, in front of the gates of the Campus, because a nature reserve begins there, a flower-covered heath. "Now we're going to take off our shoes and walk barefoot," says Anna. How this feels will be discussed again in the project room afterwards. And then finally, the recycled sheets of paper from the previous week are distributed. Inés makes a heart, Johanna writes a few lines to her friend. Sebastian, grinning, cuts a shape he would rather not hold in the camera. Sometimes nonsense is allowed.

The children and young people are already working on their own Arena logo.

In August and September the 'Arena of Change' has its long summer holiday. The children and young people are looking forward to the break, "but I'm a little sad to not see my friends anymore," says Inés, for example. But the longer summer recess is not just a change for the children. "Honestly?" says the teacher Teresa smiling, "I will miss the children very much." New adventures will continue on the FC Bayern Campus in September.

The 'Arena of Change' is a joint educational project by FC Bayern Munich and SOS Children's Villages Worldwide. We want to help children and young people discover their talents and drive their own path in life. More info:

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