5. May 2020

FCHgo lessons in German schools: Pupils are fascinated by fuel cell model car

In Germany almost 100 children aged between 6 and 12 years experienced the FCHgo pilot lessons about energy and fuel cells. The classroom sessions were led by the German association for sustainable development agado and besides activities from the FCHgo toolkit they also proposed additional games and exercises drawn from the FCHgo playful approach to teaching.

Let’s have a closer look into the classrooms, where FCHgo lessons were held. With help of Sandrina Felder, team member of agado, who prepared and conducted together with class teachers the lessons, we’ve compiled a brief report illustrating the pupils’ learning process.

Pupils are excited to learn about energy, when play is involved

Children looked forward to the workshop and were genuinely excited to explore the topic of hydrogen and fuel cells according to class teachers. They prepared the pupils, going with them through the basic principles of energy, reading the Apple Story and watching the Perpetuum Mobile movie of the FCHgo toolkit with them. The first FCHgo lesson guided by Sandrina then would usually start with a short round of introductions. After that, “we asked the children a few questions about the topic of energy and all of them could say something about it due to the preliminary work of the teacher”, she remembers. Ahead of the lesson, Sandrina had painted a blue drop of water on the blackboard, filled with white (oxygen) and green (hydrogen) balls. With the help of the picture, the class discussed the terms ‘element’, ‘hydrogen’, ‘oxygen’ and ‘molecule’ and thought of a nickname for the water, like ‘H2O’. Then, in a game of “Simon says:…” children repeated and consolidated the 4 learned terms, which was great fun for the children, hence two rounds were played. The children generally loved the playful elements of the lessons, which also contributed to deepening the knowledge taught.

A self-made paper model helps children to understand the principles of a fuel cell

Overall, the pupils developed with each lesson conducted, a better understanding of energy. The Apple Story illustrated to pupils that energy is a force. According to Sandrina’s observations, they could very well remember and point out the analogy of Apple-Human regarding the processing of energy, which is explained in the story.

To support and add to the figurative approach of the FCHgo toolkit materials, agado developed a simple paper model of the fuel cell. This was to introduce the most exciting part of the lesson for the kids: Experimenting with the fuel cell model car. Using the paper model for illustration the teacher explained the functional principle of the car. Afterwards, pupils split into two groups and took turns with experimenting with the model fuel cell cars or making their own fuel cell car out of paper.

Get inspired by the FCHgo Toolkit – a recommendation to teachers

Sandrina concludes “‘The FCHgo toolkit is an innovative approach to bring fuel cell technology into primary schools and opens up many possibilities to explore the topic with the newest generation.”

Her recommendations to teachers who want to explore hydrogen and fuel cells with FCHgo in their class is: “Be curious about the topic yourself, work with the toolkit, take up the ideas and get creative to adapt them to your students’ needs.”

Thank you, Sandrina! Have a look at a couple of pictures from the German pilot lessons below.