SMS ”Students meet Satellites”

20 students (17 girls) aged 17 took part in these activities for three weeks, from 26.03 2019 to 16.04.2019.

The purpose of the activity was to increase the knowledge about electromagnetic waves through practical applications. A good opportunity to discover how satellites work, what information they receive and transmit to Earth, in what way they transmit this information.
As a source of inspiration, we not only a Scientix resource (, but also resources and tools available on the ESA website (

The main goal was to understand how satellites work in Earth observation missions from the point of view of the use of electromagnetic waves in receiving, analyzing and interpreting information.

After a documentary study on electromagnetic waves and satellites, students completed a padlet page with the necessary information.
The first task was to understand the functioning of the GPS.
For this, students used the mobile phone application: Commander Compass Lite, uploaded coordinates provided by the teacher, explored an area in the city, identified the locations, then in the classroom they used Google Earth where they transferred the coordinates and compared the images from the satellite with photos.

The second task – Teledetection. Students used the electromagnetic spectrum to compare plants specific reflection, identify electromagnetic waves used in remote sensing and explain the behaviour of electromagnetic radiation in crossing the Earth’s atmosphere. They used the ESA Proba V App to understand how the vegetation is analyzed by satellites, which information can be found based on the amount and type of reflected or absorbed radiation, that is the NDVI index. They took pictures and compared them with satellite images, analyzing the degree of vegetation coverage.

The third task took place in the classroom. Students used the educational application Leoworks to investigate how satellite imagery obtained for different wavelengths helps identify Earth’s features. They have learned how to identify different surfaces, vegetation, water, through map interpretation. We used a map of the geographic region they live in for various spectrum bands (natural light, infrared, NDVI) provided by Landviewer, then with the Leoworks application they analyzed real-world satellite data and combined them to produce spectral images and maps.

At the end of the activities we took a Kahoot test.

More information and pictures at


The activity offered students the opportunity to enrich their scientific horizon, to overcome the attitude of ignorance towards science, to understand the physical phenomena that explain the functioning of some devices, and to encourage them to know and understand in the context of the curriculum the development o  scientific missions with impact in everyday life. They understood that the applications of the obtained images are diverse and have a great social utility (vegetation analysis, agricultural crops, urbanism, water pollution analysis, air pollution).