The UN-Decade Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) pursued the world-wide goal of embedding the principals of sustainable development in all areas of education in accordance with Agenda 21.
This will give all people the chance to acquire the knowledge necessary for living sustainably, to develop future-oriented thinking and to act responsibly in accordance to these principals.
Education for Sustainable Development takes into account economic, social and ecological aspects. It highlights local, regional and global relationships. As a result, causes of various problems, including climate change, exploitation of natural resources, droughts, world-wide conflicts and poverty, become visible. Furthermore, the consequences of the actions on the individual level become visible as well.
ESD does not only involve broaching the subject of sustainability, but also the development of resolutions and action in accordance with sustainability.
In 2015 the UNESCO Global Action Program launched “Education 2030: Framework for Action”, with a goal “Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.”
The AQUA AGENTS project was developed in accordance with ESD principals: At the forefront is a skills oriented and holistic understanding of the natural resource water. The participating students gain knowledge about the interconnectedness of economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects. The education program encourages sustainable thinking and action, builds students’ confidence in their ability to shape the future and shows by example how ESD can be implemented in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.
In the classroom, the students learn to approach water in new and unusual ways to understand what a valuable resource it is. They are given interesting opportunities to engage their curiosity and research the many facets of water, to raise their own questions, to find answers themselves, and to work in teams to develop solutions to problems. The AQUA AGENTS project empowers them to become advocates for their own life choices and for responsible social relationships as a whole. The goal is to use the example of water to show how ecological, social, cultural and economic factors are all linked together in our world.
The AQUA AGENTS tasks are generally broken down into four topics:
—Water and Habitats
—Water and Economic Areas
All 34 exercises are bundled in the Aqua Agents Suitcase. For interdisciplinary lessons there is a collection of materials in English. The materials are supplemented by continuative materials for German language learners, such as regionally tailored assignment sets.
The AQUA AGENTS project was designed according to the principles of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and has earned the designation “Official Project of the UN World Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” three times. A network of partners from the fields of environmental protection, education, business, and the sciences stands behind this project. The main sponsors are the Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection, Hamburg Wasser (which is responsible for water supply and wastewater management in Hamburg), and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (the largest operator of container terminals in Hamburg). The Hamburg AQUA AGENTS office develops and coordinates all project activities in Germany.
The AQUA AGENTS office in Hamburg and the Goethe-Institut Chicago are jointly responsible for the adaptation and implementation of the AQUA AGENTS project in the USA.
Are you interested in the Aqua Agents project? We'll gladly include your school.
With the materials in the ‘Aqua Agents Suitcase’ you can carry out the project in your German classroom. Ideally, you would work inter-disciplinarily along with a STEM teacher, who can use the English materials simultaneously.
The project can take place over several weeks, or be integrated into your classroom as you see fit. In addition, we make regionally specific as well as supplementary materials available for topics such as water in everyday life and virtual water.
The activities can be tailored to one’s needs and preferences, and can be solved individually, in pairs, or as a team. Varied activity types, games, and texts are one of the aspects of the project that support the learning process and motivate students on their way to becoming Aqua Agents.
For participating teachers, praxis-oriented training seminars focusing on the didactic concepts of education for sustainable development and to assist with the integration of the materials in the classroom are offered.
The Goethe-Institut makes the German and English teaching materials available to teachers at no cost. Additionally, schools receive support throughout the implementation of the project, including Aqua Agent Passports for participating students, supporting materials for text work, assistance with carrying out activities such as conducting a survey about water and water-waste.
Would you like to participate in the project?
Please complete the online registration form.
Within the project, students tackle various questions. They use action-oriented thinking to solve problems or independently research for answers or alternative solutions.
- How does the water cycle work?
- The Journey of Jeans
- The Toilet Quiz
- Who owns the water source?
- Where does drinking water come from and how does a water treatment plant work?
- Invasive Species in the Water
- How much water does it take to get your egg on the table?