Author: Ayşe KARABACAK
How did we start?
We started our ASTRO-STEM eTwinning project with the participation of 24 teachers and 183 students from 8 different countries, on 29 August 2019.
What is the purpose of our project? Our goal is to increase students’ awareness of having accurate information about astronomy and space sciences. Thus, they will have democratic learning environments where they can express themselves comfortably. As a result, they will have fun and explore the information in depth. Studying astronomers, astronomy history, constellations and mythological stories, they will learn many topics such as the stories of our galaxy, STEM studies of the depths of the universe, and how to use telescopes and keep an astronomy diary. They will also acquire 21st-century skills.
Establishment of mixed school teams
We established 12 “Mixed School Teams” with students from different countries during the activities of our project. Each team has 2 moderator teachers that guide the teams.
The students in the teams we created came together and collaborated using the eTwinning portal. They had conversations in the chat rooms. Because they decided on the topics they prepared, the group leaders used many different Web 2 tools and collaborated.
Our teamwork examples
Let’s give some examples of these activities. With the “2020 Sky Events Yearbooks” event, they created a common calendar of the 2020 sky event. So they had a calendar of their own.
“Which World After Years …….?” Astronauts, who went to space for Astro-mining at the event, studied the scenes they encountered with global target titles, created consecutive stories and audio stories, a common book. Thus, the study was also effective for the visually impaired.
In the “COVID-19 Public Spot” event, they revived the rules to be taken in the fight against Covid-19 with the web tool Renderforest. Because we were in a pandemic situation, this event was very effective.
Firstly, in our Ma-STEM project, we told to students: “You are part of a team commissioned by NASA to work on Mars. Your team is called Ma-STEM. Before starting a Mars mission, you need to work and prepare“. What does a team travelling to Mars need to build a life there? They sought an answer to his question. We identified 11 main problems with the task. We needed questions as first students had to be informed about this. These questions were as follows:
- Mars through the eyes of an astronaut.
- What do people need to know to live on Mars?
- Space home design for those who dream of living on Mars, because taking refuge is one of the most important problems.
- What are the contributions of asteroid mining or space mining to the World economy
- Elimination of psychological and social adaptation problem to Mars conditions, because there will be problems.
- What are the characteristics of vehicles sent into space?
- How does an astronaut prepare for space travel?
- Solving the problem of food under Martian conditions.
- What are the things you should take with you on your way to Mars?
- Finding a solution to the water problem in Mars conditions.
- What are the characteristics of an astronaut suit suitable for Martian conditions?
Eventually, each group decided democratically on the subject they wanted to research. Each group prepared their chosen topic with a different web 2 tool.
Choices made by groups
How do we find solutions to food problems under Mars conditions?
Our 9th team task was to find solutions to food problems in Mars conditions. For this reason, first of all, students exchanged ideas on the chat on the eTwinning portal. Mars conditions are not suitable for living. One of the reasons for this is food conditions as the surface of Mars is not suitable for growing food.
Firstly, students did research on the subject and studied plants grown on Mars and Internet research was done. For this students looked at many newspaper news, interviews and research. Eventually, Kevin and Cannon said ‘Engineering and architecture efforts should develop automated methods for rapidly building shielded, pressurized volumes to house food production facilities.”in their research . Firstly They studied the research ‘Feeding One Million People on Mars‘ by Kevin M. Cannon and Daniel T. Britt.
As a result of their discussion, they decided to set up a space greenhouse on Mars and grow 10 seeds resistant to Mars conditions in the greenhouse. Using the ‘Renderforest‘ web 2 tool, they revived their decisions with the animation tool.
Here is also the video we prepared: