“The Moon Landscape”
The activity took place on 22 April 2020
Auther: Stella Magid-Podolsky, STEM teacher and educator in Israel
Scientix resources that were used for this activity:
This activity took place during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. 7th grade students were introduced to the sad story of the Jewish boy Petr Ginz and his painting “Moon Landscape” which he drew during World War II while living in the ghetto. Through Petr’s personal story students were introduced to the Lunar Landscape. After that, students studied further about the moon through activities which were taken from Scientix Resource Repository: “Lunar phases” and “Lunar landscape”.
The activity was divided into 4 lessons.
During the lesson number one, students were required to learn about Petr Genz’s biography. They read about his life and his passion for Science and Space and they had a chance to see his painting which he drew before his death in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Also, students were introduced to the special connection between the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon and Petr Ginz. At 2003 Ilan took Petr Ginz’s painting “Moon Landscape” with him to the space mission. Unfortunately, he was killed in the crash of the Columbia shuttle.
Students were introduced to the first part of the activity through this website.
After that they got the following assignment:
Look at the painting “Moon Landscape” and answer the following questions:
A. What feelings do you have as you look at the painting?
B. If you could meet Peter Ginz today, what would you tell him about inventions, innovations and discoveries in space?
This activity should increase students’ empathy towards Petr Ginz’s story. I believe that these feelings make students’ involvement in the subject stronger. Also, the written “dialogue” between students of today and a boy of their age in the past may involve very important SEL (SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING ) skills.
During the second lesson of the activity, students were required to complete an activity of exploring Lunar phases from the “Lunar phase” Scientix resource.
The description of the activity from this resource :
The main objective of this activity is to recognize lunar phases through a simple activity that makes it possible to explain the phases of the Moon. This activity enables students to relate the position of the light source, the illuminated object and their consequences. All you need to use is a shoebox. Paint the inside and outside with black tempera paint. Using scissors cut a “window” or “hole” in each of the four sides of the box. Place an expanded polystyrene ball with a 3 cm diameter, painted white, in the middle of the inside of the box. Using black thread, hang it in the centre from the underside of the lid. Figure 1 Illuminate the ball inside the box by shining a torch or lamp through one of the holes in the narrow side of the box; this way, when students look into one of the holes they will be able to see the different phases that the Moon goes through. Depending on the position you point the torch or lamp, you will be able to see the different lunar phases and understand that the Moon goes through these “phases” depending on how the Sun illuminates the Earth (Enrique Torres – Explore the Universe – UNAWE).
During the Covid-19 quarantine, when teachers are required to teach through remote learning, there are many models of this kind of teaching-learning process. One of the models that I learnt from the educational department of New-York city is to do mix learning, starting the activity through the internet that will be followed by a “wet” hands-on activity. The “Lunar phase” activity that I had found among Scientix resources is a good example of a simple hands-on activity which demonstrates scientific principles.
During the third lesson students also did a hands-on activity, a simple experiment at home which demonstrates the Lunar landscape. They did it with the help of Scientix resource “Lunar landscape”.
During the fourth lesson, I encouraged my students to participate in the “Competition of Space Paintings” for primary and secondary school students. This competition is held by the ISA (Israel Space agency). This activity completes the “cycle” which began during the second World War with the painting of Petr Ginz, a curious Jewish boy and progresses into the 21st century with the Space paintings of curious STEM students. I hope that our students will make Petr Ginz’s dreams about SPACE come true….