Saturday, December 20, 2014

German Students grade 7 until grade 9 received their certificates of completion from the American Sally Ride Foundation

"Sally Ride Science is an innovative science content company dedicated to supporting girls' and boys' interests in science, math, engineering, and technology. Sally Ride Science manages the Sally Ride EarthKAM program.

Sally Ride EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) is a NASA educational outreach program that enables students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space. During Sally Ride EarthKAM missions (periods when the Sally Ride EarthKAM camera is operational), middle school students around the world request images of specific locations on Earth. The entire collection of Sally Ride EarthKAM images is available in a searchable Sally Ride EarthKAM image archive. This image collection and accompanying activities are extraordinary resources to engage students in Earth and space science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications, and art.

The project was initiated by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, in 1995 and called KidSat. The KidSat camera flew on three space shuttle flights (STS 76, 81, and 86) to test its feasibility. In 1998, the program was renamed EarthKAM. The EarthKAM camera flew on two more shuttle flights (STS 89 and 99) before moving to the International Space Station (ISS) on Expedition 1 in 2001. Sally Ride died in 2012, and in 2013, NASA renamed the program Sally Ride EarthKAM. The Sally Ride EarthKAM camera remains a permanent payload on the ISS, supporting about four missions annually."

The Sally Ride EarthKAM Mission Operations Center (MOC) is located at UCSD, the University of San Diego, in California. The students had to learn how to apply for a picture using this computer  Before that they had to search for a certain location the picture should be taken from the orbit. High quality knowledge in geography and maths were necessary to apply for the expected photo and to focus on the corselett the picture usually shows. The accepted picture requests will be delivered to the NASA - Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. They uplink the requests to the Sally Ride EarthKAM. The NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is responsible for the image processing and the image archive. All pictures taken by this camera are stored at this archive and available for all paticipating students.

Several students from my classes took part to the November 2014 mission this year and got their certificates of completion this morning.  

They hope to reinforce their vocational applications later when they are school's finalists. Congratulations to all participants. 

The next mission is actually dated for 27th January - 31st January 2015.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Students grade 7 until 10 joined the "Matheletics 2014" with success

Some of my students joined this international Maths competition this year. Set up by members of "LivingMaths", a NGO in Capetown, South Africa, they took their chance to reach most of the 20 points available for this test.

Originally created for students in South Africa and in Africa in general this test raised up to an international competition far beyond the African continent border. More than 200000 students joined this test this year.

This morning they got their certificates from "LivingMaths"- coordinator Steve Sherman, who himself joined this session from the distance using Skype. The best students at my school received 18 by 20 points this year.

Steve Sherman especially honours the results of this students' competition, because the test was printed and offered in English, which is not the students' mother tongue.

Congratulations to Jule and Eliana and all 38 certified students.

Advent, Christmas, Sylvester and New Year's Eve: Students from different countries and continents shared cultural traditions

These are the most important weeks in a year. Many traditons are celebrated during these weeks of peace and friendship, waiting for the birthday of Jesus Christ and the final of the year on 31st January. 
All people have certain expectations how to celebrate these weeks. Among people with the same cultural roots traditions are celebrated nearly the same way. If their roots are different you can recognise completly different traditions.
The students of our videoconferencing day on 17th December, one week before the birthday of Jesus Christ, recognised these similarities and differences.
Picking out certain dates during these weeks students and teachers from Europe, Africa and North- America introduced special traditions to the audience how they celebrate Advent, Christmas, Sylvester, New Year's Eve and sang a local Christmas Carol. Finally, at the end of the meeting, all students sang "Silent Night - Holy Night" and "Jingle Bells" as a global students choir, two of the most popular English Christmas Carols in most of the participating countries. The conductor of these global choir was the german music teacher, Mr Jens Hartz.

The German kids were talking about the advent wreast, Christmas Eve on the 24th December and Sylvester during the afternoon meeting.

The Swedish students from Alneskolan in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, reported about special traditions during the advent time, especially about the traditions on 13th December, when they honour Saint Lucia, one of the most famous Saints in Sweden. And they sang that song children usually sing at school and at home that day to safe home and life of everybody living in that house.

These grade 5 students from near Dublin, Ireland, reported about traditions on 1st and 2nd Christmas Day and how they spend these days in their families. They presented a famous English Christmas Carol, but in Irish language.

These primary students from an international school in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, told us all about how they celebrate Christmas, which was very interesting, because most of these children have a different cultural background. So we learned a lot about traditions, not only about American traditions, but also about different Asian Christmas traditions.

Jairus Makambe, teacher at the Cheery Children Education Centre in Nairobi, Kenya and his colleague, Livingstone Kegode, gave us information about how Christians celebrate Christmas in Kenya.

Students from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, described their Advent wreast and why they use coloured candles on the wreast. They sang an English Christmas Carol.

The first international meeting had already taken place during the morning hours that day. We met students from Brno in the Czech Republic, who gave us a deep view into the traditions of our neighbour country.
They sang a typical Czech song. The Germans presented about typical food on Christmas and during the weeks before, most of them selfmade sweet pastries, we serve for tea or coffee in the afternoon or in the evening. The Germans sang "O Tannenbaum", a famous German Christmas carol.

Joe McNulty, teacher from Pennsylvania, kept himself awake until 2.30 am in the morning to show us all his decorated living room and he gave us information about how rooms are decorated in the USA.

On behalf of all participants, we want to thanks you all, teachers and students from Europe, Africa and North- America, for that wonderful meetings that day, getting to know a lot about similarities and differences in Christmas traditions. Everybody is now waiting for his or her Christmas celebration and they now know again, why they celebrate Christmas like they do.

Chemistry students grade 8 met famous American scientist

That week my chemistry students met a very popular American scientist who is researching in the Antarctica every year from November until January during the breeding session of the Adeli penguines: Jean Pennycook. We set up this meeting for the third time now. And the whole session was a great success, as the years before.

During the participation in an international science project with schools around the world iniciated and let by the States Ministry of Education in Malaysia, the students commonly gathered a lot of information about global climate change and its impact. Using Edmodo, Padlet, Skype and Google Hangout they shared their information throughout this first phase.

During the second phase the students got more information by their chemistry teacher. Jean chosed a certain nest from her penguine colony and started to document the progress of breeding by taking pictures on a regular basis. The students always had a direct view into every day life of these climate change bio- indicator birds.
In the third phase they  met Jean this week in a video conference who is working with Adeli penguines in the Antarctica, far from any civilisation. Straight from a tent next to the birds she reported about her work, gave information about the impact of climate chance in this vulnerable area. She answered a lot of questions about her person, why she once decided to become a scientist and why she has been doing this great job.
She invited the students to help her doing her official scientific research - from the distance.

 The students had prepared a lot of questions they gathered throughout the last months concerning her person, about penguines, about the influence of climate change to these birds.

The common students' group and their flag
The Germans students created a penguine flag they sent to Jean. She will put that flag next to the nest for 24 hours. 
They did the preparations of the flag.

Student' flag is now next to the animals for the next months.

She will give the flag to the American McMurdo research station in the Antarctica where the flag will run up for 24 hours again.

She will send this unique flag back to Germany finally.

Jean Pennycook, originally a biology teacher at an American middle school, MA in Education and BS in Biology and Chemistry at different universities in California, successfully expanded the students' knowledge and experience in connecting them to her science research. These young learners got to know a lot about how scientists work and how much abstinence they sometimes have to practice.

Of course, the German kids wanted to know how she will celebrate Christmas very far from everything. And she gave them all information what she kept in mind celebrating Christmas next to 200 birds and no men.Including these two little penguines in her hand, dressed as Santa Claus'.

These are some pics from the distant  location:
penguin parents
penguin nest

Charles and Ellis
Thanks you very much, Jean Pennycook, for the wonderful support and this nice view into your work and into a researcher's life far from civilisation. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lunchbox Project 2014

Have you ever thought about the fact that food for lunch is just more than something to eat? My students grade 7 learn during this project in my chemistry classes that food is also a medium to transfer cultural traditions.                    

They notice that food can be different but has a lot of similarities as well. Lunch and dinner is not only a time slot to eat a certain food to still your hunger but also a time to share information among the family members and among friends.

They open their door to the world by videoconferencing, presenting their lunch boxes by a slide show. They introduced their school first and then presented what they usually eat during their breaks in the morning. Comparing the photoes from the classes from abroad they get a view into the food traditions in Germany.

After that the German students get a view into food traditions from the USA, from Australia, from Russia, etc. they now know what other kids eat at school. These pictures were the basis for further discussions about healthy food and nutrition.

Thank you very much to all participants, teachers and students, to help them opening their individual window to the world.

Special thanks to Marie, Alessia, David, Jennifer, Sara, Aurela and Nina, class 7c, for their strong effords to contribute to the success of this project.

Enjoy your lunch!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"She has no children - but she would like to have a dog!"

Since the beginning of this term in August 2014, three young 6th grader girls have taken interviews from people around the world. Meanwhile they have caught up people from all continents and started to open the window into their new world.

They met Ibrahim Bahati ,
communication specialist from Kabale, Uganda
(They are using headphones, because we are
recording these sessions meanwhile)
It started in August 2014 after a mystery skype videoconference that class had had with a teacher from Japan. He gave them information about school life straight from the Japanese school's teachers' room. And he introduced some Japanese traditions to them concerning food. By that fantastic meeting the students got to know about the great power of using modern technologies in the classroom. Thea, Marie and Sophie from this grade 6 class told me straight after that lesson that they would like to meet people around the world getting more information from abroad and about their traditions and that they would like to be ambassadors of our German home country..

The ladies met at home in advance to create a questionaire for the persons they would meet. Questions about school life and personal questions concerning the unknown guest itself were written down.
Students from Brno, Czech Republic

We set up a certain time slot which has fit the students' time table. The girls have taken their chance to meet others from abroad,  teachers and librarians mostly. But they also met whole classes like that one from Brno in the Czech Republic, an English language class and a German language class, grade 7.

Every Wednesday at 12.30 am GMT they have hosted a different guest by videoconferencing in my classroom for about 40 minutes. The ladies always start with a mystery session. That means they want to find out in which country this person lives asking "yes"- or "no"- questions. After that excercise they usually ask question about the foreigners' likes and dislikes and how life is around them. They always write down the information they get. Finally they try to teach them a little German and they are openminded to learn the same phrases in the guest's mother tongue.

They are creating a profile at their map
about Athalo Carrao, teacher from Brazil
After the first four meetings we set up a google map to fix all the guests' locations. They gather all information they have got and write them down on this map in a certain text body.
Facing this map they are very proud to know that they have already met one or more than one person from each continent meanwhile. As a review the most fascinating person they met was a young teacher from Australia who isn't married yet, "...has no children - but would like to have a dog!" That is what they wrote down in the google map text body among others.

Thanks to all teachers and  librarians, engineers, specialists from the HLW skypers community and students from around the world who gave them the chance to open their window into their new world.