- Introductory presentation, formation of groups, discussion in teams, explanation of the competition and its content (1-2h).
- Team activities: definition of competition and assessment of results (outside the course room - this may take several hours depending on the individual commitment).
- Presentation of results, discussion (1-2h)
The more the students know about the competition’s content, the better the building block can be implemented. We therefore recommend using other content-related-building blocks. A competition on "energy" could for example be based on the building blocks "The Energy Problem" and/or "Thermal Energy".
This building block relates sustainability to practical implementation. First, an overview of sustainability is given in a short introductory presentation. The focus of the presentation lies on the importance of sustainable solutions and the fact that decisions for or against sustainability are made in our everyday lives. It should be stressed that unsustainable behavior will only relocate or delay problems (e.g. landfill sites). As a rule, delayed problems increase or get worse over time (e.g. water inflow in underground disposal sites such as the deep geological repository for radioactive waste Asse II). The energy supply of industrialized countries should also be discussed to give an example for export problems. Negative side effects of unsustainable behavior such as the shortage of resources, natural disasters, support of dictatorships and wars are relocated and/or delayed. Compared to newly arising problems, the original problem – establishing a sustainable CO2-neutral energy supply – seems easy to solve.
Annotated slides are provided for the introductory presentation.
Competition (discussion of topics, organization, rules)
The introductory presentation raises the question why sustainable behavior cannot be observed more often and why sustainable solutions are the exception rather than the rule. The best way to answer these questions would be to let the students implement sustainable solutions themselves. However, this would be too much work for a course. It is easier to look for striking examples and to research their hindering or driving forces.
Therefore, a competition is prepared after the presentation - based on the premise "Who can find the most sustainable or most unsustainable example". The lecturer has to limit the number of possibilities (e.g. locally: student's immediate surroundings such as university, their homes and by topic: energy, food, waste, etc.). The objectives should also be clear:
1. Find and present a striking example of (un) sustainability.
2. Find out the reasons for/against sustainability of the selected example.
For the competition, teams of 3-4 students are formed, which then discuss the examples they would like to research, how to proceed and if they will need any tools. The lecturer assumes the role of an external consultant who supports and helps each team according to their needs.
Teams could for example assume the role of "energy detectives" and look for wasted energy at university, document their findings and ask the competent authority for the reasons.
Presentation of results
The results should be presented and the experience gained discussed in groups. Reasons for and/or constraints on sustainability of striking examples are especially interesting and instructional.
No awards ceremony is intended. The teams compete with interesting, striking and entertaining presentations for the attention of their audience and competitors.
An example of the introductory presentation is provided. The presentation consists of annotated slides. According to the topic of the competition, specific resources of related building blocks can be used (e.g. of the building block "Thermal energy").
The following devices might be required: thermal camera, flow meter, CO2 indicator, electricity meter