Author: Stella Magid-Podolsky, STEM teacher and educator in Israel
The activity took place between 20 February – 26 April 2020
The activity that I want to describe in this blog is called: “The advantages and disadvantages of Nuclear Energy: The Chernobyl disaster-Never again!”. This is a long term activity which took place from the end of February till the 26th of April (the date when the Chernobyl disaster had occurred 34 years ago).
I did this activity with my 8th grade students during STEM lessons when my students began to learn the topic of alternative sources of Energy. The activity was divided into two parts. The first part of the activity took place at the school (that was before the Covid-19 outbreak). The second part of the activity began during the quarantine period, so it was held in the form of digital remote learning.
During the first part of the activity, 29 students were divided into 7 groups. Each group got an assignment to pick one alternative source for Electrical energy, conduct an inquiry about their chosen source and present their outcomes to their peers in the class. Most of the students picked Nuclear Energy and when I noticed that this topic interested many students and that many of them watched the HBO television miniseries “Chernobyl”, I decided to continue with the activity, focusing on the Chernobyl disaster.
I believe in the theory that if the teacher is interested in a specific topic, he or she will be more motivated to teach this topic in an interesting way and the process will also increase students’ interest and motivation for this topic.
The rainbow in the bible is a symbol for hope, new beginnings, promises that must be kept. After the Flood, God promised to Noah that He will never destroy mankind again. In fact, there would be no need for any divine intervention. Giving people free will, God made them able to destroy themselves. The entire world is now in a challenging situation. The humankind is forced to re-evaluate its position in relation to nature and the path we choose to go in the future. These days the rainbow becomes a symbol that Everything will be alright! It is up to all of us for these words to turn into reality.
For the activity “Rainbows in my kitchen”, children drew, painted and made a lot of rainbow crafts. They made different types of rainbows with a scientific touch.
Salt with big crystals
Food colourings, Easter egg dye, or simply painting colours
Jar or paper cups for each colour of the rainbow
Paper plates (optional, however, the salt will dry more rapidly on plates)
We are staying home, isolated and respecting strict rules. The hygiene rules and safety routines are reinforced, they are even more important to follow now. We have physical contact only with the members of our family, in the familiar and safe space of our homes. We communicate with our friends, colleagues and teachers, or other members of the family via electronic devices, not face to face. School activities are held online as well. We take our classes, do our homework and our work is assessed online. We use computers, laptops, cameras, phones, the internet, a lot of devices, techniques and programs. We get new experiences, learn a lot every day. We are forced to find innovative creative solutions to new, demanding problems. Why?
This was the moment when our previous Science activities with 3rd and 4th graders, aged 9 to 11, from our school (Discovery Kids Primary School from Ramnicu Valcea, Romania) about Micro-organisms revealed new perspectives and the knowledge about viruses and bacteria were reinforced. The coronavirus data and the methods to prevent illness caused by this particularly aggressive microorganism were introduced to pupils in a way appropriate for their age. The teaching resources we used: presentations made by the teacher, a selection of pictures representing micro-organisms modelled by pupils (from playdough), posters with Hygiene rules, selected video files from the internet.