2nd Edition TalentLab: 'Technology in Space' - workshop summary

The second workshop of TalentLab, ‘Technology in Space’, took place last wednesday (January 30, 2013) at the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya. Before starting the session, one of the participants, Francesc Vilardell, explained us that it is possible to control in real time the telescope of the Observatory of Montsec (Catalonia, Spain). This is a very nice tool that allows any institution to request and reserve the telescope to use for their own projects. He also explained that other observatories in Spain also have a dedicated service to schools that allow their students to observe (live) the planets and stars.

After this brief introduction, Irene Lapuente (La Mandarina de Newton) and Laura Valls (CSIC) explained how the session was going to be lead and the participants divided themselves into three heterogeneous groups of teachers and researchers. The dynamics of the session was similar to the previous workshop. First, the groups discussed and exchanged ideas taking images related with space and technology as a starting-point. The aim of this activity was to begin creating a map of ideas, a first draft of what would become the final proposal of each group.

Interestingly, there was a common topic to all the three groups: space exploration and the management of the waste generated.The first group proposed the creation of a sort of starter kit to explore space. It would be a team project in which students would have to identify what one needs for a space trip to explore other planets, and it would request the knowledge from different disciplines (history, biology, technology, …).The second group highlighted the problem generated by the permanent use of fake or manipulated images to address astronomy/space topics. This makes it difficult for both adults and students to have a realistic perception of what space is in fact. They also stressed the need to end with the egocentric view that many of us still have: ‘There’s a whole universe apart from the Planet Earth!’.The third group proposed an activity with the goal of launching a satellite into space. It would be a work group developed at different levels and in which the students would have to make a presentation of the final project.

The next task was the identification of the ‘target’ students and their interests. Each group had also to identify the key points of their educative resource and the ones to avoid. From here, the participants began to define the details of their proposals and to build the final scheme or prototype.

Although in this session the groups started with similar topics, the proposed formats were quite different. The first group presented an application of a space trip, designed for mobile devices. Students (12-13 years) would have to upload information and images to the platform and this would make them possible to go through the different levels of the trip.

 

The second group presented their proposal as a web / blog. Students (high school) would have to lead a project to send a satellite into orbit. It would be a team work in which students would specialize in the different tasks necessary to launch the satellite. The webpage would have links to other websites of reference (NASA, ESA, etc.) and include, for example, an area with questions and a self-assessment.

The third group presented an alternative format: a sort of board game of the goose, with an additional digital Scratch version. In this case the aim for the students would be to launch a rocket to Mars and they would have to create themselves the pieces of the game.

At the end we had to choose one of the three proposals created. In this session, participants surprised us and suggested a change in the voting format. They decided that the final vote would be taken by us, ‘the organizers’. And thus, for the quality of the content and the appealing format, we chose the project of the first group. From here, we will now analyze the economic feasibility of the educative resource and also the possibility of adapting the proposal by integrating ideas from the two other projects.

You can find more photos in our Facebook page.

For more information you can also check out the website of TalentLab.

—————–
Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC. 
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.

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