POLAR STAR Summer School 2022

After 2 years of lockdowns and social distancing, the POLAR STAR team had the pleasure of organizing a summer school for our project in July 2022. Teachers from different countries had the opportunity to join project partners and work together on interdisciplinary learning, STEAM education, arctic research and space exploration. Participants received training on the POLAR STAR methodology, starting from discussing very fundamental questions and challenges, working all the way up to using tools and practices that support inter and transdisciplinary learning. Questions that students keep repeating like "Why do I have to learn this?" and challenges like "How do we increase students' knowledge retention?" were discussed and addressed. Participating teachers also worked on different approaches of STEAM education and discovered how to differentiate a STEAM lesson based on the theme and their students’ interests. The course had dedicated hands-on workshops that allowed teachers to dive deeper into our STEAM approach which embraces the idea that there can be many different approaches of STEAM focusing on one discipline while integrating the rest of them harmonically in the learning process.

The POLAR STAR kit was presented with numerous hands-on workshops during which teachers worked on the activities most relevant to them and collaborate with colleagues from different countries. The kit's workshops had it all. Working with online tools, making models, painting and drawing, telling stories, working on contemporary science achievements and many more. Participants worked together, exchanged ideas and presented their work.

Cultural and bonding events couldn't be absent from our summer school of course! We shared delicacies from each other's countries while talking about traditions and education practices in our countries, thus getting to know each other better. Our team, along with the participants of the other ESIA summer schools taking place in the same premises had two wonderful excursions, one at Cape Sounion and the sanctuary of Poseidon, and a second one at the Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon. A "Greek" night with traditional dancing and food was also organized from our Greek hosts.

Even though our participants were fully engaged and brought their best selves in every session, we couldn’t simply hand them out their participation certificates! They had to go through a final challenge to prove their worth! That’s why our certificate award ceremony, on the last day was a special one. Our teachers participated in the Mars mission escape room and were charged with the task to save a briefcase with ‘Top secret’ documents! Luckily, the briefcase was saved, and everyone went back home with a certificate in hand, many wonderful moments in their heart and lots of new ideas in their minds.

We couldn't be happier that despite the difficulties we had to face due to the pandemic we were able to celebrate our project and wrap it up with this wonderful summer school. An incredible gathering during which we could present every aspect of our project in detail through hands-on workshops, discussions and face-to-face demonstrations. It was the perfect way to complete our project and deliver its final products to the teaching community.

Hope to meet you in our next adventures!

    Making Maps of knowledge 

Diving into STEAM education

Practicing computational thinking skills

Exploring engineering

Making Auroras with water colors

Building a James Webb model

Playing the Mars mission escape room

Post session gathering

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