“No Dream is too far: The Rakia Mission as a bridge to SPACE & STEM”

The activity took place between April 4th and April 6th and further

Author: Stella Magid-Podolsky

This activity is a long-term activity and consists of three parts:

 1. An educational field trip of two hours for 7th grade students (100 students) to the “Check Point “company where they visited the control room of the “Rakia Mission” to Space a few days before Israel’s second Astronaut Eithan Stiva took off towards the International Space Station. The trip took place on April 4th. Twelve and thirteen old students participated in this activity

 2. A school activity about Space Careers at School. This is a 2 hours long activity which contains two lessons. During the first lesson there was a summary of our educational Field trip and during the second lesson students had an activity about SPACE careers (with an emphasis on Jessica Meir’s Female Astronaut career) . This activity was taught by me 4 times at 4 classes of 25 students.

 3. A Home activity during the Holidays-Keep Track of the Rakia Mission. The Rakia mission started on April 8th. Between April 7th and April 23rd Israeli students had their Passover Holidays, so they got a homework assignment to keep track of the Rakia Mission and report it to the teacher.

All students that took part in this activity had some previous knowledge about SPACE issues because two months prior the activity Israeli Space week was mentioned in Israel and all students had a Space activity where they played space games and solved spaced Trivia.

Israeli Apace week activities

The description of the activity:

  • Educational field trip: this activity took two hours. Students were exposed to the real control room of the Rakia Mission, watched a short movie about the Israeli second astronaut Eithan Stiva , learnt about the connection between first Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon (who died with all his crew 19 years ago while coming back  from Space to Earth on the Colombia shuttle) and Eithan Stiva. The two of them were friends and trained together. Stiva continued Ramon’s scientific experiment in Space that began 19 years ago. This experiment is about Lighting storm. Also, students were exposed to the 35 scientific experiments that Eithan Stiva was about to conduct in Space ( some of these scientific experiments were proposed by Israeli High school students and others scientific experiments which was proposed by universities and Research centers) and had an opportunity to do some experiments during their visit.
Students during their trip To Rakia Mission control room
The experiments that Eithan Stiva did in Space
Students make experiments during their visit to the Check Point company
  • A school activity about SPACE careers and summary of the visit to Rakia Mission Control Room

First lesson: This lesson was based on The STEM Alliance Guide for Schools http://www.stemalliance.eu/documents/99712/452773/Booklet+schools+PGB2S/315d1227-837f-46ad-adc2-f259dd79f437

After the Educational Field Trip: Collect feedback and impressions from students, it was converted to a classroom exchange activity. For example, students were invited to write down 2-3 things that they learned during the visit and share them with their peers. After that, we had an open discussion about our visit to the Check Point Company.

Second lesson about Space Careers:

This lesson was based on two resources:

*The STE(A)M IT Guidelines on how to present STEM jobs in classroom http://steamit.eun.org/guidelines-on-how-to-present-stem-jobs-in-classrooms/

Before the lesson, the teacher (me) prepared a story about a certain profession (Astronaut), The main character of the story is Jessica Meir (American female astronaut). I mentioned specific information about the profession through Jessica’s story, for example: • Who am I, what are my skills? • What are my advantages and disadvantages? • Where was I educated, what have I learned / done during schooling? • Where am I employed, what do the preparation for my workday looks like? • What my workday looks like? • What does my work environment look like?

After hearing the story about Jessica ( based on the following site:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgVDmVNB4Bg ), students are instructed to try to imagine themselves in the role of a character from the story (Jessica) that was read. They are then given a worksheet on which students use the SWOT analysis method to write impressions of the profession from the story from their perspective, for example:

 • Strengths – what are my characteristics that would make me good in this profession?

 • Weaknesses – are there any shortcomings to deal with this occupation that I could work on?

 • Opportunities – what are my goals, what would I get if I pursued this occupation?

• Threats – what challenges would I face if I pursued this profession?

Students who wished to do so shared their analysis in front of other students

The video about Jessica Meir
Students are exposed to Jessica’s Meir story

After this activity students were exposed to *The STEM Alliance / STE(A)M IT Career Sheets http://steamit.eun.org/category/stem-careers/

The class was divided into groups of 2-3 students. Each group had to find one career related to SPACE, discover it and then present it to their peers. The examples of such careers are:

Space psychologist, space mission specialist, Aeronautical meteorological technician….

A home activity

During the Passover holidays students had to keep track of Rakia Mission in space and participate at least in one virtual activity for students from International Space Station that was broadcast by Eithan Stiva. For example: Learning about lack of gravity, exposing to experiment about growing Humus in Space…..

Also, students had to report about their participation in the activity to the teacher (to me).

Learning outcomes from the activity: Students were very interested both in the Rakia Mission and in SPACE Careers. During one discussion students even discussed future SPACE careers that do not exist today. They made some suggestions and were asked to assume which profession could be real and which profession would stay “the fruit of their imagination”.

My advice to other teachers planning to introduce their students in STEM career orientation: Use the resources which are provided by STEM Alliance and STE(A)M IT project and create the framework short or long-term activity according to the cultural & scientific aspects of your country

Teaching outcomes: I really enjoyed organizing this activity. I think that the Educational field trip had a great contribution and impact on student’s interest and motivation to learn about the Rakia Mission and Space Careers. It was important to me to make a connection between a very important occasion for my country (the Rakia Mission) and a very important issue for my students-exposure for STEM careers in general and Space careers in Particular. May be, one day one of my students will be one of the Astronauts in SPACE or will have SPACE related Career….I have fulfilled my role as a teacher and my students will make their choice of Career in the future and I hope they will choose a career that will make them happy…..

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