29 Romanian students, aged 11 and 12, learners of English as a foreign language (current level: A1+ on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), owners of a make-believe time travel agency, worked together in this classroom activity of 50 minutes and came up with recommendations for their (prospective) customers to visit various places in the past, as by travelling there they could find out more information about important events, sights and people connected to STEM careers. This was Katalin Lörincz’s idea – see the blog post here: http://blogs.eun.org/teachwitheuropeana/history/tta-time-travel-agency-ls-hu-02/. We implemented part of her learning scenario (to be found here: https://blogs.eun.org/teachwitheuropeana/files/2019/01/Europeana_DSI_4_Learning_Scenario-Kati-pdf-2.pdf), adapting it to my younger students – the final products were not brochures, but posters.
It so happened that we were scheduled to reinforce describing people and places on April 16th 2019, and this was the day after the devastating fire in Paris, and in the midst of all the comments a few groups of students chose to advocate for travelling to disaster places such as the Twin Towers on September 9th 2001 with the idea of doing STEM jobs that were of help to the people involved, yet others decided upon either feasting their customers’ eyes with the building of impressive constructions by excellent engineers and architects (such as the Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower – choosing for the French tower for example the day of the opening, yet another team opted for a date for it 20 days before the finishing of its construction…) or witnessing notable (somehow) events (for their emotional state at the time, and at their age…) involving people who had liked STEM ever since they were at school (such as footballer/goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadam, the Romanian dubbed “the Hero of Seville”, having saved four consecutive penalty shots in the 1986 European Cup Final).
My students worked together and agreed on content and design in their respective groups – they had shared responsibility and their work was interdependent. Thus they developed their collaborative skills. They also did a splendid job at revising their work based on feedback from teacher and peers, being able to monitor their own work, with the prospect of being capable of taking responsibility for their lives, work and ongoing learning in the future. Today’s complex world demands such self-regulated thinkers and learners!
The activity was a very successful one, and I am determined to apply this learning model to other lessons as well. I warmly recommend it – it will have an impact on better preparing your students for life and work with STEM in the 21st century.
Daniela Bunea, Scientix ambassador
All photos – my own.