Plast.Ed: An interdisciplinary plastic workshop at the University of Trier on education for sustainable development

Starting in October 2022, the subjects of sustainable regional and site development as well as biology and its didactics will develop a plastic recycling workshop together with students in the BioGeoLab of the University of Trier, which will be used as a real and learning laboratory in teaching and in science communication, especially in the sense of education for sustainable development. The project is funded by the Nikolaus Koch Foundation for a period of two years. Nikolaus Koch Foundation is a nonprofit foundation which supports education as well as people with disabilities in the Trier region.


Why a plastic recycling workshop?

Plastic and plastic waste are of particular importance in the context of environmental and waste issues due to their quantity, long decomposition time and the spread of microplastics. The topics therefore offer an ideal introduction to the effects on ecosystems, systemic thinking, education for sustainable development and risks for humans, the environment and animals. In addition to the topic of microplastics, the avoidance, recycling and upcycling of plastic waste is given a special role. In contrast to linear systems, the Circular Economy aims to preserve materials and energy in the system and to put them back into value. While materials such as cardboard and glass are almost 100% recyclable, the plastic cycle has hardly been closed so far.  Thus, the concept of the so-called Circular Economy offers numerous starting points for dealing with the plastic issue. This also includes aspects of education for sustainable development.

How will the project be integrated into teaching or student training?

The project is developed, implemented and evaluated with students of the university within the framework of two modules in the Master of Education Biology and Geography and Bachelor of Science Geography programmes. The modules aim to provide students with a practical and applied learning environment. Students of the geography courses develop and implement the plastic recycling workshop according to their own ideas. Students of biology design and teach concepts for pupils, practically implement the learning workshop as a teaching-learning laboratory and reflect on the developed teaching concepts. Students benefit from the cooperation with various local project partners, for example the Max Planck Gymnasium Trier, the Humboldt Gymnasium Trier, the Local Agenda 21 Trier, the A.R.T. and the Pädagogisches Landesinstitut Rheinland-Pfalz.


Modules & Courses on Plast.Ed.

The first Plast.Ed. modules start in winter semester and will take place with 2 SWS per semester in winter semester 2022/2023 and summer semester 2023.

16953778 Module 13 for students in MEd Biology: Subject-specific research methods and research projects (4th parallel group): ESD Teaching-Learning-Laboratory, Supervision: Angela Jensen

16053511 Project seminar for students in MEd Geography, BSc Geography and MA Human Geography: Perspectives and Solution Approaches to the Plastic Problem, Supervision: Julia Affolderbach

The team behind Plast.Ed.

Head Geography

[Translate to Englisch:] Portrait Julia Affolderbach

Julia Affolderbach, Professor for Sustainable Regional and Urban Development at Trier University

Room F144, Tel. 0651 201-4525, e-mail: affolderbachuni-trierde

Head Biology Didactics

Benedikt Heuckmann © Andreas Voelker

Benedikt Heuckmann, Junior Professor for Didactics of Biology at the Westphalian Wilhelms University Münster

Tel. 0251 83-31382, e-mail: benedikt.heuckmannuni-muensterde

Project staff: Angela Jensen

[Translate to Englisch:] Portrait Angela Jensen

Research assistant in biology and its didactics at Trier University

Room F155, Tel. 0651 201-4799, e-mail: jensenauni-trierde