Fifty European teachers took part in 4 days of challenging classroom work at ESA’s Summer Teacher workshop last week!
The first of two identical workshops organised by ESA for primary and secondary school teachers in 2017, this workshop took place in Leiden, the Netherlands, from 11 to 14 July. The second workshop will be held in October 2017 (all available places have already been allocated).
The workshop was meant to provide teachers with tools and practical ideas on how to run their classroom lessons using space as an inspiring context. The activities were proposed along three different space themes:
Rockets and Launchers
Experimenting with paper rockets and working with the Spacecraft Materials Kit gave teachers good knowledge and practice on what is needed to get a rocket into space as well as the properties of the materials that are required for this purpose.
What is it like to look down on Earth from a satellite’s perspective using the broad range of wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum? What can we learn from these satellite images that can help us ‘feel the pulse of our planet’ so that we can understand and preserve it? Teachers learned how to run simple experiments and interpret satellite data for use in their chemistry and geography lessons.
Humans, with the help of robots, are continuing their pioneering journey to prepare for setting humankind’s feet on other planets of the Solar System. How can we do this and what can we discover? From programming an Astro-Pi computer to discovering exoplanets, teachers learned first-hand how to get their students involved in maths and physics.
The tone of each session was set by keynote speeches given by renowned space experts, who enthused the participants with state-of-the art space subjects related to the classroom activities proposed. One day of the workshop was also dedicated to the visit of the Erasmus Centre - an exciting gallery of spacecraft models, space capsules and robotic prototypes, located at ESTEC, ESA’s biggest establishment. This was followed by a visit to Space Expo, the nearby space museum.
Teachers went home inspired and with hands-on material to use in their lessons: “It has been great to get all this tremendous amount of knowledge in such a vivid and interesting way!” said one of the enthusiastic participants.
So if you are a teacher and are interested in living the same experience, stay tuned for the upcoming calls of ESA’s 2018 teacher workshops!