Stay Home and Train Like an Astronaut

Author: Michaela Balint

Date of activities: 22 April – 8 May.

Introduction

We are staying home, isolated and respecting strict rules. The hygiene rules and safety routines are reinforced, they are even more important to follow now.
We have physical contact only with the members of our family, in the familiar and safe space of our homes. We communicate with our friends, colleagues and teachers, or other members of the family via electronic devices, not face to face.
School activities are held online as well. We take our classes, do our homework and our work is assessed online. We use computers, laptops, cameras, phones, the internet, a lot of devices, techniques and programs. We get new experiences, learn a lot every day. We are forced to find innovative creative solutions to new, demanding problems. Why?

Step 1

This was the moment when our previous Science activities with 3rd and 4th graders, aged 9 to 11, from our school (Discovery Kids Primary School from Ramnicu Valcea, Romania) about Micro-organisms revealed new perspectives and the knowledge about viruses and bacteria were reinforced. The coronavirus data and the methods to prevent illness caused by this particularly aggressive microorganism were introduced to pupils in a way appropriate for their age. The teaching resources we used: presentations made by the teacher, a selection of pictures representing micro-organisms modelled by pupils (from playdough), posters with Hygiene rules, selected video files from the internet.

Step 2

Who else is in a similar situation? The astronauts who are living and working in the International Space Station are even more isolated then us and they are put in the position to solve many unexpected, difficult problems. Their own lives depend on how they adapt to existing conditions and the ability to work in a team. So, inspired by their example we transformed this current situation into Stay home and train like an astronaut project. Paxi, ESA’ s mascot is my teaching assistant and pupils’ friend, too.

Step 3

We identified what we have in common with the astronauts. We made a list together, watched how the astronauts respect hygiene rules and follow routines, practice physical exercises, do their jobs, learn, experience, eat, sleep, have fun. Starting with these examples, together, we thought, talked, wrote, drew, painted, sang, did exercises, made crafts, created our own training program. We wrote and drew safely, keeping with the hygiene rules and procedures, trying new recipes for a healthy diet, imagining new games in our brain: physical games and exercises to play in our home and backyard, discovering unexpected ways to spend a quality time with our family members at home and online – with our colleagues, teachers and friends.

Here is the link to our presentation “Stay Home – Train Like an Astronout”

Step 4

We discover the program Story Time in Space and the magic of the words read by the astronauts. As our pupils used English as a second language in communication in school during this program it became an added-value to our project.

The lessons were carried out online using the Zoom platform. Materials and homeworks were uploaded and assessed on Google Classroom. For assessment, we also used Kahoot and Google forms.

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