Introduction: Sun, Earth and Moon: a Journey in the Solar System With Makey Makey
Through this educational activity, I realised how little knowledge have the students in my region, about Space and Astronomy. The lack of equipment and observatory is more than obvious on children’s thirst to learn more. The students feel grateful for such great experience and I am keen on repeating it with more students and with other educational resources of Space Awareness. Since I am Computer Science and Robotics teacher, I like implementing lesson plans in the field of Robotics and STEAM. The current one is a cross curricular educational activity, which combines Space and Astronomy, Coding, Electronics and Art. Through such learning activities, the students can realise the connection and implementation of all kind of subjects in the real world. I have to say that the students’ interest during the activity was unabated and I was really impressed. The activity has been enriched with the students’ idea to add a meteor, not only on the craftwork, but also in the virtual world of Scratch programming.
Makey Makey Classic, 2 Scissors, Coloring pencils, glue, 2 black cardboards, A4 paper, duct tape, 2 Makey Makey kits, 2 PC, Aluminum foil
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Step 1: Introduction to Sun, Earth and Moon
The little students learn about the Solar system and more specifically, about the Sun, the Earth and the Moon
Show educational videos in your language about the Solar system
Step 2: The Rotation of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon
The rotation of the Earth around the Sun and the rotation of the Moon around the Earth have significant impact on life on the Earth.
Show educational videos about the rotations
Step 3: Making the Craftwork With Sun, Earth and Moon
The students draw the black cardboards to become the Universe with the stars and, in the middle, they put with the glue the Sun, Earth and the Moon, after cutting and painting them with color pencils. They added a painted meteor.
The cardboard is prefered to be black like the Universe
Step 4: Learning About the Makey Makey
The students learn about the way that Makey Makey works and how the allegator clips connect on the craftwork.
Step 5: Adding Aluminum Foil on Craftwork
Students learn the importance of using the aluminum foil for the cable connections and the interactivity of the project. The students put, behind the cardboard (in the height of the planets), pieces of aluminum foil, with duct tape.
Step 6: Coding in Scratch
The students learn basic coding in Scratch environment. The students create in Scratch the virtual world with the revolving of the Earth and the Moon, in combination with the appropriate coding. They adjust the code for the meteor too.
Younger students may face difficulty in understanding coding concepts
Step 7: Connecting the USB Cable on PC and Start Coding
The students pick or draw the sprites of their choice for the depiction of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon and they add the blocks for their movement. They add space sounds if they like and they added the meteor with its depiction on the virtual world. When an object is touched on the cardboard (eg. the Moon) , information about this is shown on the virtual world.
Step 8: Trial and Error
The students test the code and its implementation on the craftwork. The students “run” the program in Scratch: The revolving of Earth around the Sun and the revolving of Moon around Earth. When the students put their finger on the painted Sun of the cardboard, they can see information about the Sun (on the screen), on the virtual world of Scratch. The same happens when they put the finger on the painted Earth, meteor and on the Moon of the cardboard.
The diary of the project can be seen in https://padlet.com/kareri/Sun_Earth_Moon
The educational activity was implemented in the context of our participation into Space Awareness competition, and was the Runner-up in Greece, http://www.space-awareness.org/el/news/celebrating-excellent-space-science-teaching-competition-national-and-global-competition-winners/