Taking Current Climate Change Research to the Classroom—The “Will Hermit Crabs Go Hungry in Future Oceans?” Project

  • Christina C. RoggatzEmail author
  • Neil Kenningham
  • Helga D. Bartels-HardegeEmail author
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Climate change and its consequences at environmental, social and economic level will affect all of us, in particular the children of today who are the world’s citizens of tomorrow. However, the causes, consequences and mitigating measures to counteract climate change are not currently part of the regular primary or lower secondary school curriculum in the UK. With the evident lack of practical climate change-based school activities for the UK curriculum in mind, this report describes an outreach project that takes authentic up-to-date research to the classroom with the aim to provide an example to cover this topic. The project focuses on the effects of ocean acidification and the drop of ocean pH on the foraging ability of hermit crabs. Besides a detailed description of the project set-up, this report highlights scientific as well as educational outcomes. The classroom-based experimental sessions yielded a significant scientific result, showing that the hermit crabs’ ability to locate food is significantly impaired by pH conditions expected for the year 2100. Combining theoretical and practical parts, the project reached the pupils through different channels and therefore made every child take home the message in their own way, at the same time adding to their key skills in teamwork and effective communication. We could further observe a clear gain in knowledge and confidence with regards to the scientific skills obtained through this project. Professional scientists delivering the sessions alongside school teaching staff also served as positive role models to foster the children’s future aspirations for science.


Science outreach Ocean acidification Animal behaviour Fostering aspirations Authentic science 



The project was funded by the University of Hull and we would like to acknowledge the help of Dr. Jörg D. Hardege, who allowed us to use his laboratory and equipment during project development and for preparations prior to the experimental session. We further thank Prof. Mark Loch for his valuable input to the theory session, the assisting students throughout the project and the diligent helpers during the Hull Science Festival 2018. Special thanks to Melissa Hardege for help throughout the project sessions as well as comments to this manuscript and the staff and pupils of all participating schools; you were brilliant and a pleasure to work with.

Supplementary material

488378_1_En_15_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (628 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 627 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Energy and Environment Institute, University of HullHullUK
  2. 2.Newland St John’s CE AcademyHullUK
  3. 3.Department of Biological and Marine SciencesUniversity of HullHullUK

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