SMOVE - Science that makes me move

Combining School Education with Scientific Practice

An exciting teaching project: SMOVE - Science that makes me move

Do you know how much pupils move in Berlin and Brandenburg? And if and why some move more than others and on which factors this could depend?

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) would like to get to the bottom of this question together with students from Berlin and Brandenburg with the SMOVE study. SMOVE - Science that makes me move, is a Citizen Science project funded by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, which aims to carry out an epidemiological study in cooperation with pupils and scientists to record sitting behaviour, activity behaviour, and what the influencing factors are for movement in pupils.

This study will of course be anonymised and carried out after approval by the school administration. In a previous project, almost 100 pupils participated, who found the project very exciting. For the current project we are aiming for a number of 300 pupils. 

What did you and your pupils gain from participating in the study?

  • Students learn from MDC scientists what epidemiology is and why an active lifestyle is important for health.
  • The students gain insight into the course of an epidemiological study and are actively involved in its implementation.
  • Students can learn to develop and test hypotheses.
  • With the help of a small movement measuring device (accelerometer) worn on the thigh for over a week, the sitting behaviour and activity behaviour of the pupils is recorded.
  • The results are made available to the students and can be evaluated together (anonymously) in class if desired.
  • Possible influencing factors on movement behaviour are determined by jointly developed questionnaires.
  • The lessons can be supplemented and supported by MDC scientists. In consultation with the teachers, various focal points can be set (such as health/biology/medicine, methodology, statistics, ethics).
  • For example, the MDC scientists can supplement the classes of the participating class in the subjects of biology, mathematics or sports.

Course of the project

The project is divided into three phases:

  1. A teaching unit on the relevance of sitting behaviour and physical activity to health. Development of possible hypotheses on factors influencing sitting behaviour and physical activity. Length and design of the lesson will of course be discussed individually in advance. Other models are also possible, e.g. within the framework of working groups, etc.
  2. A field phase to carry out the study. During the field phase, the students wear the accelerometer continuously over a period of one week during their normal everyday life to record physical activity. Students are also asked to answer a questionnaire during this time.
  3. A teaching unit to discuss the collected data and results in the form of descriptive statistics, tests to check the influence of possible factors and collaborative interpretation of the results. The length and design of the lesson will of course be discussed individually in advance. Here, too, other models are possible, e.g. within the framework of working groups, etc.

Who can participate?

All interested teachers with their classes in Berlin and Brandenburg from grade 8.

Phone: +49 (0)30 9406-4570












Dr. Katharina Nimptsch
Dr. Lina Jaeschke
Jonas Widmann
Prof. Dr. Tobias Pischon

Tel.: +49 (0)30 9406-4570