by teacher Alina Marilena Buduleanu
During a magic week, between the 15th and the 19th of April, 27 students from Școala Gimnazială Nr. 29 Galați, Romania, imagined themselves as the first space colonists. Through 7 activities aimed on learning by doing, the 7 years old children explored, discovered, mapped, built and experimented how it would be if they would have to live on the Moon surface.
To make the learning process easier, I used and adapted to my class age level the educational resources provided by www.esa.int – teach with space, classroom resources (Moon shelter, Bionic hand, Astrofarmer, Moon rover).
Activity 1 – Mapping the Moon
The students explored the satellite photos of the Moon and mapped the Moon surface to find a suitable place to land and a proper place to build a camp. Recently, the space explorers brought evidence that there is ice water on the Moon. The kids looked up for the specific craters where an important quantity of ice water should be found and located them on the lunar South Pole.
Activity 2 – Our Moon Camp
The students became space engineers when they had to prototype their Moon camp, a building with special rooms for scientific experiments, machines, a greenhouse to provide fresh food and an air lock entrance. They thought it would be suitable to build the camp in an ancient crater from the lunar South Pole because the temperature is friendly and they can find there enough ice water.
Activity 3 – Water on the Moon
The young explorers used `Moon ice water samples` (50% water + 50% sand) and they experimented how the liquid water can be obtained and filtered from the lunar soil. They calculated how much lunar ice water they need to obtain one litre of liquid water.
Activity 4 – A greenhouse on the Moon
The 8 years old environmental engineers experimented how the plants are able to grow in a plastic bag, without soil. They used the liquid water from the previous activity to help the plants grow in mini plastic greenhouses.
Activity 5 – The bionic hand
The kids wanted to find out more about robots and machines which could make their life easier on the Moon. They studied the anatomic parts of a human body and learned to build a bionic hand.
Activity 6 – Moving our rovers on the Moon
Because they would have to move from one place to another on the Moon surface, the students experimented how a rover or a machine can move without a classic engine. They also learned how to use a computer to make a drone move and record images.
Activity 7 – Reaching the sky
Because their Moon camp would be a scientific and research place, the little space scientists looked up in the sky and learned about constellations and galaxies. At the end, they built rockets which will bring them closer to their dream: to colonize the Moon.
What a wonderful experience!
The learning activity came up from my students’ idea. They are always curious about the Universe, space ships and interstellar journeys. When my kids expressed their wish to live on the Moon, I challenged them to find resources and ways to live in an alien environment. During the 7 activities, my students developed their creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and problem solving skills. The experimental activities empowered them. My students became more confident in themselves, they are not afraid anymore to make decisions and to take risks. It was a wonderful feeling to see the girls from my class eager to move rovers and to build bionic hands and Moon shelters – a step forward from the social opinion which says that playing with cars is suitable just for the boys. All my children saw that the learning process is purposeful and all of them dare to dream about jobs of the future.