Fifty European teachers took part in 4 days of inspiring workshops at ESA’s Autumn Teacher workshop 2017.
This, being the second of two similar workshops organised by the ESA Education Office, was for primary and secondary school teachers and took place in Leiden, the Netherlands, from 5 to 8 October.
Learning from experiments
The workshop was meant to provide teachers with tools and practical ideas to enhance STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lessons using space as the context. The activities were designed 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. Teacher learned how to implement this in physics and chemistry lessons as well as having a real set of tools to begin using immediately.
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 real satellite data for use in geography and biology 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 exploring these concepts in maths and physics.
The tone of each session was set by keynote presentations by ESA experts, who enthused the participants with current and future space topics related to the workshop activities. One day of the workshop was also dedicated to visiting ESTEC, ESA’s largest establishment.
Teachers went home inspired and with hands-on experiences and resources to use in their classrooms:
“Every moment was wonderful; I’ve learnt so much. I am sure now I can motivate my students even more. I feel my heart is full of motivation to continue to teach and learn.” Justina, Portugal.
“The structure of the workshops was fantastic. They gave an insight into how I could expand on ideas and deliver a sequence of interesting, cross-curricular lessons to my students.” Liam, Ireland.
If you are a teacher and are also interested in living the same experience, stay tuned for the upcoming calls of ESA’s 2018 teacher workshops!