Scientix and Space part II. – Let’s Explore the Moons!

This post was originally posted on the Scientix blog.

 

Have you ever thought about the number of moons in our Solar System? Which moon is the largest? Are there any active volcanoes on any of them? Which gas is Titan’s atmosphere mostly comprised of? Your students can find out the answers to these questions, and much more spectacular information, when you make use of the following Scientix resources on the moons of our solar system.

 

The Moon’s Shamerecommended students’ age: younger than 9

This short tale is based on a Cubeo-Indian legend from the Amazon about the eclipses of the Moon and Sun. It is an extract from the “Tales of the Stars” book.

 

Deadly Moons – recommended students’ age: younger than 12

From Earth’s moon to Europa, our Solar System is filled with an interesting set of natural satellites. Through art and science, children learn about the moons of our Solar System with the Deadly Moons activity.

 

Paper Plates Activity: Moonsrecommended students’ age: younger than 13

In this activity, children use paper plates to learn about the phases of the Moon.

 

Galileo and the moons of Jupiter: Exploring the night sky of 1610recommended students’ age: 16-19; available in Italian as well

Students use their knowledge of mathematics, physics and ICT to characterise the motion of Jupiter’s moons. They collect data from a software program, process it and then plot graphs, particularly of sine and arcsine functions, to calculate the moons’ orbital periods.

 

Astronomy with SalsaJrecommended for all ages

The hands-on exercises here are designed to allow students to use real astronomical data to find a new planet, explore volcanoes on the moons of Jupiter, classify stars, or weigh a galaxy!

 

Even if there will be more questions than answers, exploring the moons of our Solar System can prove to be a fascinating endeavor. In 2022 the European Space Agency is planning to launch the Jupiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE), which will study 3 moons of the giant planet: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, and their potential for hosting life. NASA too is hoping to launch its own mission to Europa in 2022, called the Europa Clipper. It will fly down to within 25 km of its surface, and may even include a lander. So the future of space exploration is alive and well, with a bunch of exciting encounters to look forward to, research, and learn about!

 

Authors: Tina Michetti, Fotini Siligardou and Daniela Bunea

Scientix Ambassadors

Scientix and Space part I. – Hands-on activities related to space exploration in pre-school and secondary school

This post originally appeared on the Scientix blog.

 

Teaching space science in secondary school can be challenging, while on the other hand, students feel a special attraction towards hands-on activities; they find it empowering when causing a reaction in an experiment or suddenly grasping a science concept. It gives students confidence as learners and is, at the same time, a funny way to learn. In this article, we present some ways that you can follow in order to introduce hands-on experiments related to space exploration.

In a first step, the ISS (International Space Station) can be a good starting point to introduce these activities. The ISS is one of the most challenging laboratories ever set up, and can be easily observable from our homes, by simply knowing when and where to look towards. Click here if you would like to access the NASA sightingsThen, three activities can be developed, as follows.

 

 

Aeronautic Space Area Practice-Space

The aim of this activity is to encourage the education of children by their parents. Encourage parents to prepare activities, which can help their children with their experience, or to learn interesting things about science. The workshop is designed for carrying out activities so that there is a minimal difference between the parent and the child and they are equal partners. This makes children more open to receive information as the parent does not act as a teacher. This is how parents learn the best approach to their children to achieve the best cooperation, which could be utilized for home tutoring or other forms of education.

 

Easy rockets

Spaceships move through the air and space. They cannot be supported by anything there, so how do they manage to move? Thanks to rockets. These devices mix liquids that they carry in their tanks, and large amounts of gas are formed that are expelled at great speed. When the gases exit backwards they push the rocket forwards, propelling it. Let’s explore how rockets work!

 

Sky-high science: building rockets at school

With this activity, students will try to build the best possible rocket. Before attempting to build their rocket, they should explore and discuss how the shape, dimensions and materials used will affect the range, apogee and time of travel of the rocket. After the activity, a new dimension of discussion, re-modelling and evaluation can be explored, with students discussing their individual results with the whole class and seeing which methods and models worked better and why. Furthermore, they can try to improve their model and re-test their hypotheses.

Another approach to space can be done in different interactive spaces located all over the world. The following are between the most recommended:

 

Euro Space Center is a science museum and educational tourist attraction located in Transinne (Libin), near Redu in Belgium. It is devoted to space science and astronautics. The centre includes simulators of space flight and micro-gravity.

The Cité de l’espace (City of Space) is a theme park focused on space and the conquest of space. It was opened in June 1997 and is located on the eastern outskirts of Toulouse, France.

The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, also called the NASM, is a museum in Washington, D.C.. It is the second most visited museum in the world, and the most visited museum in the United States. The museum contains the Apollo 11 command module, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, and the Wright brothers’ plane near the entrance.

The Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics  (Russian: Государственный музей истории космонавтики имени К.Э.Циолковского) is the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of space exploration. It was opened on 3 October 1967 in Kaluga, and is named after Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a school master and rocket science pioneer who lived most of his life in this city.

 

There are hands-on activities about space in pre-school, too. For decades research has shown that hands-on learning at preschool is best. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—the world’s largest organization of early childhood professionals—says a quality early childhood education is one in which “Children are given opportunities to learn and develop through exploration and play…materials and equipment spark children’s interest and encourage them to experiment and learn.”

Hands-on learning at preschool simply means the children are active learners throughout the day: exploring with materials, learning by doing, moving throughout the classroom, and interacting with one another. The teacher acts as a facilitator— not by telling the children what to do with the materials— but by asking questions that challenge them to use them in new and creative ways. A teacher skilled at hands-on learning will often begin her inquiries with how: How can you build that bigger without it falling? How can you make sure those plants grow healthy? How can you all play together so everyone has a turn?

 

The Scientix Resource Repository is a good starting point for hands-on experiments related to space exploration. These three activities can be used in pre-school space exploration.

Lunar Day

Materials: Two paper plates (10 inches – 25.4 cm), A4 printouts of the Moon and the Earth (attachments), scissors, glue, elastic bands, Internet access.

Goals: To demonstrate why the Moon always keeps the same face towards Earth. To determine the length of the lunar day.

Learning Objectives: Children mimic the Earth-Moon system, one representing the Earth and the other representing the Moon. As the children swing around each other, they will notice that the Moon always keeps the same face towards the Earth.

They should also learn that the Earth and Moon rotate at different rates: once a day for the Earth and once every 29.5 days for the Moon.

Evaluation: By asking questions about the Earth-Moon system:

  • What did the other students notice about the Earth as the pair swung around?
  • What did the child who was impersonating the Earth notice about the Moon as the pair swung around?
  • Can the students explain why the length of a lunar day is 29.5 Earth days?
  • The Earth shows different aspects to the Moon. Can the students describe what happens?

Creating Asteroids

Star Hats

Have a happy learning!

 

The images included in this article belong to the the author.

Authors: Merve Akyol Kılıç & Javier Redondas

Scientix Ambassadors

Make Use of Scientix Resources on the Topic of Food

Image: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en

This post originally appeared on the Scientix blog.

Food – could you find a more relevant topic for every age group? We must eat to provide our bodies with nutrients and energy. People enjoy eating. The way we eat, from early childhood, influences our health for all our life. The food topic can be investigated in pre-primary as well as in primary and secondary classrooms and it is a topic connected to real life, which can be very attractive for our students, if we find the appropriate resources for it.

The topic of food is good for integrating STEM subjects like Biology, Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Art, Technology, but even Language, Art and Counseling activities. It is also appropriate for understanding connections between environment, economy and society (People, Planet and Profit). This topic is perfect for inquiry-based learning, materials are cheap and easy to purchase and the experiments proposed are easy to run by students. Food is a great topic for interdisciplinary classes.

You can find various resources connected to food in the Scientix repository. All these resources listed below are in English, but you can find some more in other languages. The descriptions of projects are based on descriptions in the repository.

 

How clean is your kitchen? (Age 5-7)

This food hygiene lesson demonstrates to students how easily potentially harmful microbes on raw and undercooked food can transfer to humans. It can be a used when teaching about food and hygiene.

 

Food and food labels (Age 11-19)

Through guided inquiry activities, students learn to look at the composition of foods and the amounts on nutrients. This is a good resource for Health Science classes, for Science or Nutrition classes.

 

Chocolate choice challenge (Students of all ages)

This combination of an inquiry-oriented activity, experiment and lesson plan teaches about Fair Trade, organic produce and consumer power through tasting different types of chocolate.

 

Food and diet (Age 16-19)

What drives people to eat, what happens to food once it has been eaten and what impact humans’ dietary choices have on health and well-being?

 

Food preservation (Age 14-16)

Pupils explore why food needs to be preserved and the science behind different preservation techniques.

 

The meal deal (Age 11-14)

Why and how we cook food, the efficiency of cooking and the impact of cooking on health. The Meal Deal contains teacher’s notes, pupil worksheets and a range of support materials, including PowerPoints, technical briefs and videos.

 

Safe food activity (Age 8 – 11)

On this worksheet, pupils can draw or write how food is kept safe during all stages of production. Look for more resources (worksheets, videos) in CommNet project: Communicating the Bio-economy. It includes educational material on Bio-economy topics, for children aged 5-16.

This worksheet can be used for brainstorming, in the first part of the lesson or activity, when teaching students about the importance of food safety.

 

Chemistry at Home : Chemical substances in foods (Age 14-17)

The activity informs about some of the chemical substances in food. It includes two hands-on experiments and several shorter activities. This resource is valuable for experiments (for example, the baking soda experiment; or iodide in table salt). Also, many videos and books can be found and used in teaching chemistry related to food.

 

Food (Age 14-16)

Here you can learn about the flow of energy in the human body. Students explore the food they consume and the energy that they use in general day-to-day activity.

It is a documented step-to-step activity and it can be used in Science and Mathematics classes (it could also be a great resource for an extracurricular project). Check out the worksheets about calories and the links for resources on teaching about food and healthy lifestyle.

 

Food – Where does bread come from? (Age 5-8)

This is a longer project – practical tasks about all the steps needed to make bread (from the germinating of the wheat grains up to the final baking of the dough). It can be integrated into a STEM project and all these resources can be combined with field trips (visits to local bakeries) and practical activities.

 

Food Hygiene – Junior (Age 5-11)

With this activity pupils learn how easily potentially harmful microbes on raw and undercooked food can transfer to humans.

 

Food Hygiene – Senior (Age 11-15)

With this activity pupils learn how easily potentially harmful microbes on raw and under-cooked food can transfer to humans.

 

Proof of the pudding (Age 14-18)

Inquiry and assessment unit outlines a hands-on inquiry activity in which the students (plan to) prepare a “good” pudding. This can focus on biological aspects – nutrition, energy content of foods, quality of nutrients, healthy lifestyles – and chemical concepts – groups of organic compounds, colloidal systems and sol gels, but also on attitudes towards healthy nutrition and lifestyle.

 

The use of digital comics: Healthy Eating (Age 12-19)

With the help of this eTwinning kit pupils learn to use web based tools to create comics, and explore the theme of healthy eating and the consequences of poor dietary habits. Available in 22 languages.

 

Explore guide: a crisis of fat? (Age range: 14-18)

This is a collection of teaching methods, a valorification of the resources on the obesity theme (lesson plans, videos, games, virtual experiments), available on the Xplore Health site. It is a very useful teaching guide, with proposals for teaching sequences and activities, even evaluation tools.

 

COMMNET (Phase 1) – What’s changed? (Age: 5-8)

Multiple choice, learning about different foods and ingredients. It can be used in the introductory phase on a lesson about food processing, to find out what students know about the topic.

 

COMMNET (Phase 1) – Where does food come from? (Age: 5-8)

A comprehensive guide to agriculture, food preparation and distribution – for preschool children.

 

We consider these resources (lesson plans, videos, worksheets, experiment ideas and much more) useful and easy to integrate in your teaching. It is up to you whether you decide to use the whole lessons or just parts of them. Some more complex resources can be used for project days or science weeks. They are an excellent collection of good practice in teaching about food, especially because of their interdisciplinary and scientifically documented approach.

 

Authors: Aiki Jõgeva and Marika Emese Cîmpean

Astronomy4all

Image taken from: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/the-aurora-named-steve

This post was originally published on the Scientix blog.

Do you want your students to take a picture like this on their own? Do you want to arouse curiosity and interest in astronomy studies for all your students?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should read the following article very carefully.

Astronomy is part of human curiosity for thousands of years. Astronomy encompasses culture and history, mathematics and physical science, myth and imagination, and more. For both pure and applied science, astronomy is becoming a constantly evolving field as exploration reaches farther into space, as technology for telescopes and space travel develops, and as the search for life beyond our own planet accelerates. The many aspects of astronomy offer a variety of fascinating career possibilities; it can be a lifelong passion and hobby, and it is always a continuous education.

Nowadays, there are multiple ways for individuals to get a taste of astronomy. As the educational environment is going through changes, many of which involve digital components, such as: web sites that enhance book content, citizen science projects, online courses, social media channels, venues for digital video, blogs, simulations, applications and much more, it becomes easier for both adults and young learners to get in touch with Astronomy.

This guide lists a selection of Scientix Resources about teaching astronomy, (such as: online videos, lesson plans, apps, science projects and even a way to observe with NASA telescopes) that can offer new and exciting ways to teach, as well as to stay informed about the subject.

 

Examples

The following examples are based on an open access platform for peer-reviewed astronomy education activities. They can help teachers and educators to discover, review, distribute, and remix teaching and learning materials in astronomy. The platform ensures of scientific accuracy and quality pedagogical content.

 

Resources

Our Planet

These activities allow pupils to learn the difference between diurnal and nocturnal animals and understand day and night switching. At the end, pupils build a model of the Earth and can experiment with day and night.

Seasons around the World

This activity helps pupils to understand seasons by building a model of the Earth, with its spin-axis, and a lamp as the Sun to demonstrate the concept of seasons.

If you are interested in watching additional videos, we recommend cosmic voyage to elsewhere: The scale of the Universe.

 

Planets and Moons

Sun, Earth and Moon Model

In this activity pupils can build a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, exploring their movements and they can also play a memory card game and learn some characteristics of them.

Solar System Model

The students will paint and arrange spheres to form a model of the solar system using several materials and then organize them in the right order from the Sun.

 

C. Stars

Star in a box

This activity lets the students explore the life cycle of stars. It animates stars with different starting masses, size, brightness and temperature as they change during their lives.

Black Hole

In this activity, students build a physical model of a black hole to demonstrate its characteristics. The activity includes images of the demonstration.

 

Our Universe

History of our Universe

In this activity pupils investigate how old the universe is and when important events took place in the universe and on Earth.

Milky way

During this activity, pupils build a model of the Milky Way and understand the objects contained in the Milky Way.

 

Other fascinating resources:

With the apps you learn using at the fascinating webinar: MOBILE APPLICATIONS FOR STEM EDUCATION: HOW TO USE THEM IN CLASS every lesson will Keep the students curious! (You need to watch only 5 minutes from 15.30 to 20.18!)

Your students can observe with NASA telescopes if you use the resource UNISCHOOLABS: THE CHALLENGE!

If you would like to involve parents in the scientific education of their children, you should use the resource AERONAUTIC SPACE AREA PRACTICE – SPACE. First, First parents receive a short briefing and then perform a number of tasks with their children. The workshop is designed to represent the story of a flight from the Earth to another planet.

 

To create meaningful learning, we recommend to use a variety of teaching methods.

Have a productive work!

 

PLEASE SHARE WITH US Pictures of models built by students, photos taken by students using the NASA telescope and everything else using the Scientix social network portals.

Authors: Limor Ben Shitrit Haimi and Nektarios Farassopoulos

Education and Global Warming

This post was originally published on the Scientix blog.

Introduction

“The real is less rich than the possible”

/Ilya Prigogine/

The concept of sustainability was proposed for the first time by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, which defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Development must ensure, in other words, the coexistence of the economy and the environment. Today, “sustainability” is recognized as a key word for the society of the twenty-first century.

The idea of ​​sustainable development is inevitably linked to the political agenda of governments, which have the responsibility of making their populations aware of its crucial importance. It is possible to reach an ever-increasing number of citizens only through research and educational practices, focusing not only on the problems that influence sustainability, but also on the possible solutions, identifying all the stakeholders to be involved, including representatives of industry, science, schools and local authorities.

Description

The primary objective of the idea of ​​sustainability is the attainment of a sustainable society. This achievement involves three different systems: global, social and human. All three are indispensable for the coexistence of human beings and the environment. The current crisis can be analysed in terms of the breakdown of the communication between them.

  • The global system includes the entire planet (geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere), which provides natural resources, energy and a supportive ecosystem. It is characterised by wide fluctuations regarding climate and the earth’s crust, which are the subject of study of the Earth Sciences and deeply influence human activity and survival. Vice versa, the considerable increase in anthropic activities destabilizes the behaviour of fluctuations in the global system. Global warming and ozone layer destruction are two critical examples of human-induced change.
  • The social system is constituted by the relationships that are created between the political, economic and industrial structures. It is strongly dependent on economic growth and technological progress, which inevitably bring about new social problems such as pollution or the growing inequality between the rich and the poor. These issues affect the social system first, then the global system as a whole. In addition, the declining birth rate in the most developed countries raises serious questions about the family as a fundamental unit of the social system. Taken together, these problems require a radical re-examination of the idea of a well-off or established society.
  • The human system is the complex of the factors that influence the survival of human beings; connected to the social system, its functioning requires the creation of lifestyles and values ​​that allow people to live well and safely. Human beings suffer from physical and emotional discomforts, often due to the inequities of the social system. An increase in these problems exerts considerable pressure on the social system in the long run. Consequently, the stress and the deterioration of the environment also affects the human system. Poverty, hunger, diseases, lack of housing and social exclusion, especially in developing countries, are typical of this trend. In extreme situations, the weakening of sustainability degenerates into wars and conflicts.

What are the problems that occur on a global scale because of the strong interactivity of the three systems and which scenarios are outlined?

 

Resources from Scientix repository

The following resources are good examples that you can use during your lesson dealing with global warming.

  1. Collection of experiments on CO2 and Greenhouse Effect
  2. A greenhouse as large as the earth
  3. Greenhouse Effect in vitro!
  4. Chemistry in Everyday life: Carbon cycle
  5. CarboSchools booklet: What we have learned, what we still don’t know and what we must do to combat climate change
  6. Global warming
  7. Health and Climate Change
  8. CPI: Global Warming and Seas

 

How do you integrate these resources into learning scenarios?

Global warming is a natural process that keeps the planet warm and hospitable for living organisms. The greenhouse effect is the warming of the earth beyond this natural process of global warming. The greenhouse effect states that gases in the atmosphere, such as CO2, might increase the surface temperature of Earth.

The resources can permit to the students observing the greenhouse effect. Perform an investigation by a scaffolding technique: they follow the instructions in the resources accessible to the links.

Then they summarize what they have learnt in the previous activities. Answering questions, they can confirm or dis-confirm their hypothesis.

Image is author’s own

Inquiry and assessment units aims to enable students to consider scientific data and determine whether or not the evidence supports the phenomenon of global warming. Additional activity presents an editorial, which the students should analyse to judge its scientific merit. This activity may be implemented at lower or upper secondary level depending on the curriculum objectives. The key skills that can be developed through these activities will permit to elaborate coherent discussions, distinguishing opinions from facts, working collaboratively following scientific reasoning. In this way, the students also enrich their scientific literacy through the evaluation and use of scientific data/information. The assessment method emphasised is that of self-assessment and rubrics are provided for students to use for evaluation of their own work. The key skills assessed were forming coherent arguments, scientific reasoning and scientific literacy, with an emphasis on the analysis and interpretation of scientific data and results. The assessment methods used include self-assessment, peer assessment, classroom dialogue and evaluation of student’s worksheets and other artefacts.

The Earth’s climate is changing ever faster, and human activities play a role in speeding up this change. Other resources give the opportunity to verify how climate change affects our health. In a related activity, using an on-line simulation game, students must sustain the health of the global community by implementing strategies and performing research in order to prevent disease and combat the effects of global warming.

Another interesting activity to be conducted in the classroom could be to estimate the impact in terms of greenhouse effect of the mobility of a class.

The same activity could be extended to the institute to lead to the election of the class with the lowest environmental impact in terms of CO2. Students could also involve their parents in research and estimate the environmental impact of their mobility.

After estimating the carbon dioxide emitted due to mobility, students could be asked to estimate the number of trees needed to fix this gas in order not to increase the greenhouse effect.

Using an on-line simulation game, students must sustain the health of the global community by implementing strategies and performing research in order to prevent disease and combat the effects of global warming.

Conclusion

Today, the question is no longer whether the current trend of climate heating will continue, but how and how much. The scenarios that we can foresee must take into account the complexity of the climate system. What will we need to check?

The variables involved are:

  • the temperature;
  • atmospheric circulation;
  • precipitation;
  • extreme events;
  • ice and glaciers,
  • the sea level.

The direct consequences of climate change have repercussions on:

  • the distribution of water resources;
  • the quality of the soils that will tend to deteriorate;
  • ecosystems that will no longer be able to dispose of carbon dioxide;
  • the coastal marine environment that will suffer from increasingly higher levels of sea damage;
  • human health: the increase in the mortality rate is predictable as well as the intensification of some heat-related diseases in the presence of dust or infections.

One thing is certain: climate change is producing an effect increasingly relevant. The factors behind climate change are complex, dynamic, interlinked, and not easy to predict.

It is therefore important to involve the younger generation in the study and in STEM professions so that they can actively contribute to making the earth still a liveable place.

 

References

Hiroshi Komiyama Æ Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Sustainability science: building a new discipline, Sustain Sci (2006) 1:1–6, DOI 10.1007/s11625-006-0007-4

https://bigpictureeducation.com/connecting-climate-change

Cover image: (CC BY 4.0)

Authors: Andrea Checchetti, Nectara Mircioaga, Massimo Saccoman