ASTRO-STEM / MARS ADVENTURE WITH STEM

Author: Elvan İNAN

Astro-Stem is an eTwinning project. Between September 2019 and May 2020, an international project that briought together astronomy and STEM disciplines were realized.

About The Project

The project is compatible with the educational curricula of 5 different countries: Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. The project was carried out with interdisciplinary interaction of teachers of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Computer and Technology. See the map showing all schools involved.

Under the guidance of 24 teachers,187 students in the 15-18 age range participated actively in the project. The project designed astronomy activities with STEM aimed to raise awareness about space sciences in students. Thus, the project inspired them to become interested in the science of astronomy while planning future professional careers.

Mixed country teams were formed and students carried out their activities through collaborative activities. Thus, the communication of students living in different countries of the same age group was provided and foreign language development was supported. In addition, cultural ties between countries have been established and a democratic learning environment has been established.

The project included studies on astronomy, space, telescopes, constellations, black holes, other planets, our galaxy, the moon and solar eclipses, as well as information and crops. Each study started with STEM questions and continued with students’ research and applications. By using a different web tool at each event, students’ technology literacy skills were improved. In this project, Scientix Resources Building a Space Habitat in the Classroom and “The Solar System” were used.

The activities took place with two different working groups, school teams and mixed country teams.

School Teams

Each school had its own Working Group. These groups conducted studies with determined STEM activities. The students of the school team explained the project and its activities to the other students in the school, enabling more students to be involved. Schoolwork teams’ Sundial, astrolabe, constellation binoculars and Sky Atlas workshops and hands-on trainings took place.

Mixed Country Teams

12 different mixed country teams were formed among the project member students and collaborative work was continued under the guidance of the designated mentor teacher. Students of mixed country teams performed all tasks online. They communicated during the Webinar, discussed the issue and worked to reach the right conclusion. They presented all the tasks to other project members using a web2.0 tool. Mixed country teams assignments:

1-Future Space-Astro Stem

Students have done game design in the Scratch program. Each step of the game is designed by 12 different teams and eventually combined. Project students participated in the Codeweek event with the study “Future Space-Astro STEM”.

2- Years Later, What Kind Of World Is It…….?

The team members wrote the story through collaborative work. Our story tells us what kind of world we’ll live in in the years to come if we don’t pay attention.
Our story is based on 17 articles of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which the countries of the world have established in global cooperation with the aim of leaving a better planet for future generations. Each of the 12 teams wrote stories, taking into account different clauses of their Sustainable Development Goals. The subject of our story is that astronauts who went to space to search for mines slept in their sleeping pods for 200 years due to a technical error and then returned to earth. But because people don’t live with caution, there is no longer the Old World. The land has become a desert, the waters have lost their character, and the sky is no longer blue. All teams have written the story by continuing it in a way that is connected to one another. Our students read parts of this story and created an audio recording. And in the end, both a written and an audio version of our story has been prepared.

“Years Later, What Kind Of World Is It?”

3-Mars Adventure With Stem 

This study was prepared specifically for STEM week. The study includes all disciplines. The story is fictionalized so that the students are part of a team commissioned by NASA to conduct studies on Mars. Student teams were given different tasks and asked to prepare for this task and then perform the task. According to the story, students are asked to prepare the task.

  • Team 1: How to Prepare for Astronaut Space Travel?
  • Team 2: What are the things you need to take with you on your way to Mars?
  • Team 3: What are the things that people who will begin to live in Mars should know?
  • Team 4: What are the features of the Astronaut Suit suitable for Team Mars conditions?
  • Team 5: What are the features of the vehicles sent to Team Space?
  • Team 6: What are the contributions of Team Asteroid mining or space mining to the World economy?
  • Team 7: A space house design for those who dream of living on Mars.
  • Team 8: Fixing the food problem in Team Mars conditions.
  • Team 9: Eliminating the water problem in Team Mars conditions.
  • Team 10: Eliminating the problem of psychological and social adjustment to Team Mars conditions
  • Team 11: Team repairing a system damaged by sand storms on Mars.
  • Team 12: Mars through the eyes of an astronaut

These works were carried out by 12 different teams between February 1 and April 30, 2020.

In the week 1, student teams were given STEM study plans by mentor teachers. Student teams did preliminary studies on life and asteroid mining on Mars.

In the week 2, student teams continued to explore steps in the STEM plan as well. The teams did preparatory work on their own task. Sources published on mission-related websites were also investigated. Papers, journals and scientific articles written by scientists were examined.

In week 3, student teams continued their work on explanation of the STEM plan. The students conducted online interviews with their mentor teachers. The teams evaluated their studies and findings. And the team teachers gave the students the necessary explanations.

In week 4, student teams continued their work on improving the STEM plan. Students chose the appropriate web2.0 tools to perform team tasks. They made designs using all the obtained information and data. The studies and results within the group were evaluated with the rubric.

Our mission as a team is “Mars through the eyes of an astronaut.” We conducted the study in which we tried to answer the question “what are the feelings and thoughts of an astronaut on a space mission?”. The studies were carried out for 4 weeks by following the steps of “Enter, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate“ indicated in STEM plan. In particular, we drew a conclusion by reading interviews of people who had previously participated in this mission. We designed our work with the genial.ly web 2.0 tool. Our astronaut called us from space and told us what they were doing.

Here is our work.

4- COVID-19 Public Spot

The public spotlight has been created with the renderforest web tool, which aims at what to do and what to pay attention to during the world’s pandemic. In addition, students have been urged to stay home by taking videos from the places they live.

5 – 2020 Sky Events Yearbook

A yearbook of Sky Events was held in which major sky events for the year 2020 were described. Mixed country teams worked on special situations that would occur in the sky for each month. Posters were created in the Canva web tool. The sky events yearbook was created by combining all the posters. https://www.storyjumper.com/book/read/82255695/ASTRO-STEM-2020

Training Webinars Of The Project

In our Project, webinars were organised with expert scientists.
Astrophysicist Dr Selcuk TOPAL participated with our students in an online lesson called” Moon and Moon missions from past to future”.

The MIT / Kavli Institute staff astrophysicist who worked on NASA’s TESS project, Dr. Tansu Daylan informed our students about subjects such as dark matter, exoplanets and artificial learning by making webinar.

Akdeniz University chemistry department lecturer Assoc. Dr Memduh Sami TANER taught our students online about STEM and astronomy activities.

Evaluation

The online survey on Survey Monkey, quizzes at Kahoot! and Quizizz, word cloud application at Mentimeter and AnswerGarden were also used to determine students’ achievements in the project.

To observe the change in student behaviour before and after the project, questionnaires were organized and their results were interpreted. Results were evaluated using statistical analysis method.

A Padlet page was created to share students’ thoughts on the project. The students told each other their views about the project.

Dissemination Of The Project

Social media accounts, blogs and websites were designed to spread the project and the multiplier effect of the work was increased. In the Astro-STEM blog page, students posted their blogs. On Weebly, they also edited the website with collaborative work with the teacher.

Before the project, all students’ families were interviewed. They have been briefed on our activities. And the students were allowed to be involved in the project. The mutual agreement was signed. We did not publish the face and personal information of any of our students during the project with an emphasis on the Internet security.

Web2.0 Tools Used In The Project

Working Plan Of The Project

Result

With this project, an innovative approach in education on the following topics – skies, stars, planets, asteroids – was used as training material. They gained students’ feelings of curiosity, research, and discovery towards space science.
As a result, the science of astronomy has been brought to attention and awareness has been created in the students and education has been supported with STEM philosophy and has become permanent in the individuals.

Published by

elvaninan

I'm a high school math teacher. I work with gifted students. I have attended many national and international congresses in the field of mathematics education for gifted students. I received awards in my country with the different educational models I applied. I was invited to the “23rd Science Projects Workshop at the Future Classroom Lab (SPW23)” Brussels by receiving the “STEM Alliance” Award for my work “say YES to STEM KPL” at STEM Discovery Week 2018.

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