Astronomy in education: Simulating Space Research experiment in the classroom by writing computer codes
Science teachers’ main concern is to motivate their students to actively participate in their lessons. Since students are usually excited about Astronomy, subjects of the Space Science can be used as educational tools to engage them in the learning process. In this framework, the European Space Agency (ESA) challenges student teams to enter the annual European Astro Pi contest. This contest gives the opportunity to young students to design and perform a space science experiment by building a computer program in Python language. Selected codes run on the International Space Station (ISS). In this paper, we present a project for secondary education inspired by the Astro Pi Challenge. We ask students to design a space experiment by using the microprocessor equipment provided by ESA. The case study of the project is to search for any Sun effects to the inner environment of ISS using the sensors of the Astro Pi. Students are asked to investigate possible variations in the interior (pressure, temperature, luminosity) during the light/dark circles. Students’ simulations are tested in the terrestrial day/night circle. A previous student experience in writing code is not prerequisite. This activity focuses on developing transversal skills and competences of the involved students, such as scientific knowledge, cognitive and communication skills. These skills are crucial for the citizen of the 21th century. Students’ reception, collaboration and performance to this activity are impressive. It seems that the project meets students’ needs for further active involvement in the learning process.
Bampasidis, G., Galani, L., & Koutromanos, G. (2019, March). Astronomy in education: Simulating Space Research experiment in the classroom by writing computer codes. 5614–5622. https://doi.org/10.21125/inted.2019.1381