POLAR STAR: Guiding the way towards STEAM through innovative learning approaches and contemporary science
POLAR STAR aims to bring together state-of-the-art learning pedagogies and combine them with exciting activities that focus on contemporary science, thus helping teachers to introduce STEAM successfully in their class. At the same time the project focuses on the development of students’ key skills and competences as well as deepening their knowledge of fundamental science principles, increasing their appreciation of science and technology and their role in todays’ societies.
Why talk about Space and Arctic research in class?
Astronomy and space exploration have always been breath-taking subjects and a rich source of excitement for young as well as older students. The exotic celestial objects discovered by astronomers, the vastness of the universe and the endless pursue of discovering the origins of our world are only a small sample of subjects that despite their scientific perplexity can be transformed into simple in-class activities that can increase students’ engagement and steer their curiosity, creativity and imagination. In fact, as shown by many studies, topics like the search of extra-terrestrial life and the origin of our universe are very popular among students; girls and boys alike. Although it may not be evident, space exploration is linked to everyday life in numerous ways and it is a field that transcends scientific disciplines and goes beyond cultures. Many technological developments and applications of space (for example GPS navigation) are used daily by everyone while space missions (like the Copernicus mission) play a significant role in tackling global problems like climate change. Additionally, the night sky, has always been present in cultures around the world serving different roles from inspiration for local legends to a navigation tool. Keeping in mind the idea that we are all under the same sky, astronomy and space exploration can play a pivotal role in communicating the idea of global citizenship and bringing people from different cultures together and give them the opportunity to communicate and talk about their cultures and traditions. Students from different countries and cultural backgrounds can share their excitement about space and collaborate in highly cross-disciplinary activities that not only cover a wide range of STEAM subjects but also have numerous cultural and social extensions.
Arctic science research covers a wide range of subjects, from climate change to weather and the extinction of certain animals throughout the history of our planet. Arctic science, aside from being a unique field of science that intrigues students, the wide range of subjects that it covers also makes it highly interdisciplinary in terms of concepts and phenomena that can be discussed. Thus, it is ideal to be introduced to schools and demonstrate the interdisciplinarity of science concepts and the ‘Science as a whole’ approach. Additionally, as many of the studies conducted under Arctic science are closely related to environmental issues, this field of science can also be directly connected to communities and our everyday lives.
The POLAR kit of activities will demonstrate the significant role of Space and Arctic research on climate changes, environmental issues and more. They will cover a wide range of subjects connected to geography, natural resources history, social/political science and more.