“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…..

Hydroponic System


by Özlem Saygın, Ph. D. (#Integrated STEM Teaching for Secondary Schools Rerun)

(2022 STEM Discovery Campaign-Scientix Competition 1: STEM Activities)

The activities of the Hydroponic System were implemented in 10th grade (age 16) in Antalya Erünal Sosyal Bilimler Lisesi, Turkey. We implemented the learning scenario between 08 March and 26 April 2022.

Global warming in the world, the inefficiency of agricultural lands, unbalanced increase in the world population, increase in food prices, and similar problems cause great problems in healthy and adequate nutrition. Landless farming methods which are applied to limited areas seek solutions to these problems. The aim of our activities was to learn about growing plants in the hydroponic system. So, students can grow plants in soilless conditions inside the buildings. Students researched necessary conditions for plant growth, the quality of water, essential minerals, and the importance of the wavelength of light. They tried to find solutions to the problems they faced.

Firstly, we prepared this learning scenario for Integrated STEM Teaching for Secondary Schools Rerun MOOC as a team. Then we improved and implemented it.

Our activities


Students were asked the following questions as real-world problems, respectively:

  • How can we meet our food needs if we face food shortages due to climate change?
  • How can we grow our vegetables in a drought?
  • Is soilless agriculture possible?
  • Which methods can be applied for the use of inorganic substances by producer organisms?

After the students’ preliminary information was revealed and their ideas were taken, the following videos were watched on the subject.


Students were divided into groups. By examining this website, they decided to do deep water culture.

The groups did internet research and watched videos both in English and Turkish about the hydroponic system setup they have chosen. They tried to find answers to these questions:

– Which plant species can be grown in hydroponic water culture?

– What nutrients do plants need? Do the nutrients need to change according to the plant species?

-What should be pH, EC, and temperature of water for their plants?

Students wrote the list of materials they would need. We bought A and B nutrients, pH meter, EC meter, pH reducer, perforated pots, air stones, air motor, air pipe, storage containers, perlite, LED, and Arduio set.


Students discussed the causes and consequences of global climate change. They brought their bills of electricity, water, and natural gas. They asked their parents how many kilometers a month they traveled by car and motorbike. They measured the carbon footprint of their family at this link.

They researched what they can do to reduce their carbon footprints and made a list.

  • The distances that can be traveled on foot should be covered by walking, if there are suitable conditions, by using a bicycle.
  • Reducing waste, consuming products that can be consumed without packaging, and paying attention to recycling.
  • Using solar energy instead of natural gas and electricity.
  • To use renewable energy for electricity, to prefer energy-saving light bulbs, refrigerators, and air conditioners.
  • To travel by public transport as much as possible.
  • Hang dry the laundry instead of using a dryer.
  • Do not run your dishwasher before it is full.
  • You can water your plants in the garden with the water you use for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • When you are not using your electronic devices such as computers and televisions, be sure to turn them off and unplug them.
  • Buy as much food as you need and put as much food on your plate as you can eat. Try not to create food waste.
  • Instead of buying bottled water, carry flasks.
  • Use a water-saving showerhead.


Students set up their hydroponic system as groups.


  • Lettuce etc. seedlings
  • Perforated pots for seedlings
  • Styrofoam (3 mm thick)
  • Deep, opaque storage container (10-25 L)
  • Airstone
  • Aquarium air motor
  • Water pipe
  • Aquarium check valve
  • A and B nutrients
  • pH meter
  • pH reducer
  • Conductivity (EC) meter
  • Thermometer
  • Injector
  • Utility knife
  • LED
  • Arduino set
  • Perlite

Students cut styrofoam suitable for the storage container. They drilled round holes for the perforated pots on the styrofoam. They cut the corner of the Styrofoam, so the water hose could pass. They measured the liter of water while they were putting it in the storage container, then placed the air motor and airstone. They used a check valve to prevent water from entering the air motor. They mounted the air motor high above the system. They put 2 ml of each A and B nutrient per liter. Then, we adjusted the EC=0.8 mS/cm and pH=6.0, these values are for lettuce. Values of water should be adjusted according to the plant species. Students put seedlings in the perforated pots and filled them with perlite. They sat the pots on styrofoam.

In the chemistry lesson, students learned which minerals plants need and how to calculate the ratios of chemicals in a mixture.

In the physic lesson, students investigated the effect of the wavelength of light on plant growth. They used LED lighting with an intense red light so that the plants can grow faster in a low light environment. Then, they programmed its timing to be ON for 16 hours (lighting) and to be OFF for 8 hours (dark) via the Arduino.

Students measured and recorded EC, pH, and temperature of the water every day.  We made the necessary adjustments. The problem we faced was that the pH was rising every day. We added 20% nitric acid for reducing it. Then we used purified water instead of tap water because the EC of tap water was high. Using purified water slowed pH to rise. After 5 weeks, our lettuces grew enough, we harvested and ate them.

In the mathematics lesson, students drew graphics of daily pH increases and the temperature of the water.

The video of the project presentation can be seen here.

We used a self-assessment form for evaluation. In addition, students replied to these questions in the form:

  • What problems did you encounter while installing the hydroponic system and growing your plants?
  • How did you find solutions to these problems?
  • What can you do to improve your design?
  • Are you considering using the hydroponic system in your home?

Students exhibited their projects at the Science Fair of our school on 27th April 2022.

Teachers used the teacher assessment form for evaluating the performance of students.

Connection to STEM Careers

Our activities are associated with professional areas such as environmental engineering, biochemistry, biotechnology, management of biological resources, agricultural engineering, and computer engineering. Students watched a video of the plant factory in our city.

21st Century Skills

Collaboration, communication, productivity, critical thinking, problem-solving, information and technology literacy, initiative, and social skills.


This project is an effective STEM project. It promotes entrepreneurship. Students enjoyed trying something new and they realized that growing plants takes effort. They had to devote time to their projects every day, but some students found it difficult. They learned the importance of recording data while doing a scientific study. They presented their projects with pride and enthusiasm at the science fair. Growing plants in hydroponics are not very common, so it attracted a lot of attention. This project needs a budget. The project can be continuously developed, and new applications can be tried in time.

Our Team

Biology: Özlem Saygın, PhD.

Chemistry: Ayşegül Gençer, PhD.

Mathematics and Information Technologies: D. Aslı Kaplan Yaşkaya

Physic: Şerife Demirel


Perception is an interpretation of the surrounding world in human consciousness, resulting from the processing of signals coming from photosensitive eye cells. Colour perception is a process that allows us to see different colours as a specific object. Colour psychology gives colours a role in evoking emotions in people, and the perception of our lives.

The topic was processed according to my own learning scenario (SDC2022, Scientix Competition 1: STEM Activities – teaching materials). In this learning scenario, students explored and analysed the visual and psychological perception of colours. Students participated in an interactive game to test their visual perception, and by showing feelings and emotions in colour, participated in a small study of the psychological perception of colour. The total duration of all activities was about 90 minutes, and was attended by students of the third and fourth grade of secondary vocational school who are studying for the profession of wood technician designer.

STEAM in activities: increased focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics subjects in the topic

  • Science: Express your feelings in different ways (Psychological science)
  • Technology: Use interactive games and content in teaching, involve various digital tools in the implementation of planned activities
  • Engineering: create a “Colour Wheel” by stacking 24 wooden crayons
  • Arts: Paint the walls
  • Mathematics: analyse and interpret statistics

Age range of students: 17-18 age

Preparation time: 45 min

Aim of the lesson / Learning Objectives

The objective of this lesson is to explore and validate colour theory concepts in a practical way.

After the lesson, students coluld have :

  • explained the concepts of colour theory on a colour wheel model
  • analyzed and interpreted the results of research on visual and psychological colour perception
  • connected colour choice with mood and emotions
  • recognized personal colour experience

Plan and sequence of activities – Figure 1.

Figure 1. Plan and sequence of activities

Creative colour wheel design – Students are divided into groups (5-6 students). Each group was given wooden crayons of different colours and shades (package of 24 crayons). Students created a creative “Colour Wheel” (Figure 2.) by stacking 24 wooden crayons according to their colour and shaded and the rules of colour positioning within the Colour Wheel.

Figure 2. Creative colour wheel design

Colour perception – Using the interactive game “Color method”, the students explored their personal perception of color. According to personal color perception, students chose the color that best matched the suggested color offered by the computer. For each category – basic colors, saturation, triadic, tetradic and analogy, each player has 5 attempts. At the end of the game, the result of the game was visible on the screen. The results of the game were entered into a whole-class data collection form. (Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Colour perception

Colour psychology – The students painted the walls of different rooms using the vizualizercolour application. Students according to instructions, painted the walls of selected rooms, expressed emotions with colours and showed how they experience which colour in the described situation. The results of painting the walls: (Figure 4.-6.)

Figure 4. Colour psychology – warm and cold colours
Figure 5. Colour psychology – message of freshness, harmony with nature and comfort
Figure 6. Colour psychology – personal perferences

Instruction for painting:

  1. Choose the room you want and paint:
    1. paint the walls with warm colours
    2. paint the walls of the same room with cold colours
  2. Choose a picture of the bedroom: paint the walls using colours that associate you with relaxation, rest, serenity, tranquility, comfort, enjoyment
  3. Choose a picture of the living room: for the walls, use colours that will send a message of elegance, prestige, sophistication, expensiveness, exclusivity of the living room
  4. Choose a picture of the kitchen, use colours that will try to send a message of freshness, harmony with nature, comfort
  5. Choose a room of the youth room, upload a photo and paint the walls of the room according to your own preferences

Analysis and results interpretation

Students analysed and interpret answers obtained through questionnaire via discussions (analysed the average value of results, calculated deviations from the average, determined ones position in relation to the average grade result, determined colours that most students experience warm, determined colours that most students experience cold, determined colours and shades that students find personally preferable, determined colours that “send a message” of exclusivity and expensiveness, determined colours and shades that “send a message” of link to the nature)


  • Individual feedback based on points scored in the interactive game
  • Interpretation of statistically processed dana
  • Interpretation of emoticons by which students expressed satisfaction with the activities carried out

About the author:

Ernestina Tropša, graduated from the Faculty of Forestry in Zagreb. She works as a teacher in a vocational secondary school and teaches wood technology subjects.

Interpretation of emoticons by which students expressed satisfaction with the activities carried out.

The pictures are the author’s own – (Figure 1-6) – Attribution CC-BY