Catching up after Corona: "GEOtogether" brings joy for pupils in collaborative experimenting

Positive interim results of the GFZ Pupils' Laboratory in the BMBF-funded project before the start of the 3rd cycle


To overcome learning deficits and to support pupils in the aftermath of the Corona pandemic, the German government has launched the programme "Catching up after Corona". Since February 2022, the school laboratory of the German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam (GFZ) has offered the first two cycles of afternoon workshops on this topic with the project "GEOtogether" - with great popularity and good success. The third round is now starting with the new school year. In specially designed geoscientific courses, pupils from two cooperating schools can experiment together on site at the GFZ. They can discover and experience new things, not only about volcanism, earthquakes or sustainability, but also about their own strengths and interests. 

Corona consequences for pupils

The Corona pandemic has brought a considerable amount of stress for students: homeschooling, technically and didactically difficult distance learning, the associated isolation, the partial lack of professional guidance and feedback. Learning together in the usual sense was hardly possible, learning delays and psychological and social stress were the result.

The GFZ "GEOtogether" project

In order to counteract these Corona consequences, the Federal Government has launched the programme "Catching up after Corona" for the years 2021 and 2022 and funded it with one billion euros.

Within this framework, the "GEOtogether" project has been running in the school laboratory of the German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam (GFZ) since February 2022. There are two partner schools in Potsdam for this: the Fontane Oberschule and the Helmholtz-Gymnasium. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays during regular school weeks, afternoon workshops are held for groups of ten to twelve pupils each - with a strict hygiene concept. The project is aimed at primary school pupils in grades 5 and 6, as well as grades 7 to 10.

The two AGs offer the 85 young people special experiences and encounters at an extracurricular place of learning.

Communicating the joy of learning and independent work

"Although the name of the BMBF project suggests otherwise, the funded area for the extracurricular places of learning is not primarily about catching up on learning material, but about the joy of learning and also about strengthening social interaction," explains Manuela Lange, the head of the GFZ School Lab.

In the workshops, the students can conduct their own geoscientific experiments under supervision on topics such as volcanism, earthquakes, fossils and sustainability. In the process, they also learn what it means to work scientifically and to think across disciplines. By acting on their own, they can discover and develop individual strengths.

Insights into geo-research and career prospects

And last but not least, they gain insights into the diversity of research at the GFZ. Since the afternoon workshops take place on the campus of the Albert Einstein Science Park on Potsdam's Telegrafenberg, visits to laboratories and encounters with scientists are also possible. This makes it possible to impart knowledge and experience research in an authentic atmosphere, where science really takes place. This can also help when choosing a career later on: Geoscience offers interesting prospects not only for graduates of a degree programme, but also for various apprenticeship professions.

Positive balance and outlook

Two project cycles have been completed since February 2022. Project manager Manuela Lange draws a positive interim balance:

"The popularity of our courses is great and we experience the added value the children gain from visiting the Telegrafenberg Science Campus and experimenting together. It is particularly pleasing that we can reach children in this programme who we have not been able to reach with our offers so far. The students enjoyed the workshop so much that some of them would very much like to take part in another round.

One participant told her classmates: "I learned many new things in the workshop. I learned a lot about processes that take place inside the Earth, which I didn't understand before and which were not taught at school. For example, I now do know how a volcanic eruption works."

The funding for the project runs until the end of 2022, so now, after the summer holidays, there will be two more project cycles of this kind. Once again, children and young people from the two cooperating schools can take part in the two afternoon courses per week.

You can find more information about the GFZ's school lab here:


Dipl.-Geow. Manuela Lange

Media Contact

Additional News

Group photo with all the people who attended the farewell

Honouring Prof. Onno Oncken with a scientific colloquium

DEUQUA Logo mit Mammut und Friedenstaube

DEUQUA 2022 Tagung am GFZ

PAW Logo

Postdoc Appreciation Week Germany

Building, photo taken in winter, Isaac Newton Institute

Simons Scholarship for Dr Monika Korte

Die Verteilung der seismischen Stationen auf einer Karte der Region.

How deeply does Eifel volcanism sleep?

Geomagnetic Field. Space with stars, Earth with animation around

GFZ film among the finalists of the Earth Futures Festival 2022

Earth's radiation belt: High-energy particles modelled around the Earth. The particles are ring-shaped

A new population of particles in the Earth’s radiation belts

[Translate to English:] Die teilnehmenden GFZ Mitarbeiter als Gruppenfoto

2nd proWissen run in Potsdam with successful participation by GFZ employees

The group on the first day of work.

New faces at the GFZ - start of the training year 2022/2023

Forest vs no forest on two sides of a road

Agriculture drives more than 90% of tropical deforestation

Group photo: people on the roof terrace of a house

2nd International Symposium of International Association of Geodesy’s Commission 4…

[Translate to English:] Foto eines Bergs mit darüber gelegter Skizze des geologischen Profils.

How thick should clay be as a host rock for a repository?

White dots of different thicknesses in a hexagonal pattern on a black ground.

Synthesis of hexagonal SiGe semiconductor using high pressure and temperature

Landslide on a slope directly adjacent to a settlement with small houses.

Landslides increasingly threaten the world's urban poor cities

A woman and a man stand on a stage holding a picture with a coloured map of Türkiye..

Four decades of joint Turkish-German earthquake research

Egon Althaus sitting around a table with colleagues outside on a project

We mourn the death of Egon Althaus (1933-2022)

A dry dam near Capetown, South Africa.

The challenge of unprecedented floods and droughts in risk management

Drawing of a fictional historical submersible.

Eleven short research stays with GFZ participation funded

Drilling platform on Lake Junin with several people on it

Tropical glaciers followed the rhythm of the ice sheet expansion in the northern…

Schematic representation of the VECTOR project: A large arrow with different levels - from the earth's surface to underground.

Improving the exploration efficiency in Europe

Hoby Razafindrakoto

Project from Dr. Razafindrakoto to create a seismological lab in Madagascar wins ARISE…

3D digital Earth at night

Open-Earth-Monitor getting started

The dam of the Steinbach Dam in the Eifel region, cut by flooding but not destroyed.

Flood risk management after the Eifel flood in July 2021

Group picture of the Cermak7 Conference in front of the Museum Barberini in Potsdam

International heat flow conference and workshop in Potsdam

Castor platform in the ocean. The sea is still.

Filling geological gas reservoirs: Causal research in the most important event of induced…

People sit on chairs in a circle in a room.

GFZ PhD Days

Jeffrey Perez in front of the Logo of the meeting

Two GFZ Researchers participate in the 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Young woman standing with certificate in hand in a hall in front of the lettering EAGE

Best Paper Award for Evgeniia Martuganova

Four persons are holding a large golden key, standing in front of a house

Housing for visiting scientists


Favoring curiosity-driven research of the solid earth

back to top of main content