Background to the ISS Education Kit
The education of the European youth, in particular in the scientific disciplines, is an important theme for the European Space
Agency (ESA). In fact, ESA has several education activities, aimed at students of all ages and their teachers. A specific
ISS education programme has been defined, where development of educational material is one of the core activities.
The ISS Education Programme is an ESA initiative, which is already supported by several organisations and exceptional individuals
who want to make a difference in the world of education and who have joined the ISS Education Fund. More information about
the ISS Education Programme and the ISS Education Fund are available on ESA’s educational web pages (www.esa.int/spaceflight/education).
The development of the education kit goes back to 2001, when ESA organised a conference for European teachers, TEACH SPACE
2001. The main objective of the conference was for ESA to understand what could be done to support European educators in their
important and challenging work. One of the conclusions of the conference was that teachers need simple, practical, and modular
material that can be applied to their lessons and is based on existing European curricula.
As a response to this, ESA developed, in cooperation with a group of 20 educators, a pilot print version of the ISS Education
Kit for secondary schools. The pilot version was ready in 2002 and sent to educators throughout Europe for testing and evaluation.
Based on the feedback received, the kit was revised and improved; in addition six new units were developed. The printed edition
of the ISS Education Kit was translated into all languages of ESA’s Member States.
Introducing the 'ISS Education Kit on the web'
The ISS Education Kit has been adapted to create this online version. The 'ISS Education Kit on the web' is based around the
same content as the printed version, and making use of the extra possibilities offered by the Internet, includes interactive
exercises and multimedia features.
The target groups for the ISS Education Kit are teachers throughout Europe and their students, aged 12 – 15.
||To introduce the International Space Station as a motivating and ideal tool for teaching.
||To increase the awareness and interest in science and technology research in space among the youth.
||To stimulate curiosity and creativity through active participation.
||To highlight the important contributions being made by space technology to the wellbeing of society.
||To focus on future, possible areas of space research and technology, as well as the importance of international cooperation
and cross-cultural interaction.
Why Teach Space?
||Space is part of our lives
||Space is our future
||Space is fascinating
||Space-related topics are part of European curricula
Why teach topics related to the ISS?
The International Space Station represents an ideal tool for teaching.
The ISS is one of the largest, international, cooperative space adventures to date, and gives unique long-term research possibilities
in weightless conditions in a wide range of disciplines. The science and technology research carried out on board the ISS
is expected to provide us with important knowledge that will benefit people on Earth and make a foundation for further explorations.
|All activities involved in building, working and living on board the ISS have many fascinating angles that can be applied
to various subjects and skills taught in schools, such as:
||History and cultural studies
||Creative writing and foreign language training
||Modelling related to artistic expression and technology
||Social skills (i.e. cooperation and teamwork)
Using the 'ISS Education Kit on the web' in teaching
The kit includes topics that already exist in European curricula and the content is linked to topics taught in the classroom. As teachers across Europe will invariably have different teaching
practices and curricula, the kit has been designed to be a reference tool and source of ideas for the teachers.
The kit can be used as an introduction to a topic, for more in-depth studies in a particular field of interest, or as extra
stimulus for students. Units can be printed out and handed out to the students, or adapted to suit specific projects or thematic studies. The content of each unit is independent
of the others. Teachers can therefore use the whole kit or only parts of it. Click on the print version icon to access the print layout of any given page.
The kit has an interdisciplinary approach that makes it relevant for a wide range of subjects. Through interactive experiments,
students will gain experience in carrying out scientific research: observing, analysing and recording data.
|The ISS Education kit is divided into five chapters:
||What is the International Space Station?
||Building the International Space Station
||Living on board the International Space Station
||Working on board the International Space Station
Access content by topic
The five chapters can be accessed directly via the 'Select topic' tab . Click on a chapter heading in the left-hand menu to open a general introduction about the topic. The chapter's exercise
units are also revealed in the left-hand menu, click on one of the exercise units to access this content.
Pages within the 'ISS Education Kit on the web' have the same basic structure - up to three tabs can appear along the top
of the page – 'Read about it', 'Try it', and 'Teach it'.
Read about it
The text on a chosen topic or sub-topic appears under the blue 'Read about it' tab.
The read more graphic appears at the foot of a page if the 'Read about it' continues on a further page. Click on the graphic and the next page
For most exercise units there are a number of related interactive exercises, multimedia features and/or classroom activities
– these are revealed by clicking on the red 'Try it' tab . If there are no related interactive exercises and/or multimedia features, no 'Try it' tab will be present.
'Teach it' tab
In order to help teachers get the most out of using the ISS Education Kit on the web, the 'Teach it' notes provide a short description of the exercise, classroom objectives, as well as a list of web references for further
information and ideas.
For each of the interactive exercises and classroom activities included on the 'Try it' tab, there is a corresponding entry
on the grey 'Teach it' tab . If there are no interactive exercises or classroom activities for a given exercise unit, there will be no 'Teach it' tab
The 'Teach it' notes also include an indication of the difficulty level of each exercise.
Three levels of difficulty have been identified:
* Level 1: The activity requires students to watch of a video, explore an image or 3-D environment, or follow an animated explanation.
** Level 2: The activity requires students to answer questions through drag and drop activities, to make simple logical associations
and/or simple calculations, or to follow logical steps without having a broad knowledge of background information.
*** Level 3: The activity requires more knowledge of background information, higher logical/mathematical skills, or a good understanding
of the interconnection between thought and action. Direct involvement of the students may also be required in carrying out
experiments or drawing conclusions. The exercise may require numerous concepts to be managed at one time, a complex modelling
to be understood, or an effective strategy to be devised.
Access content by subject
Interactive exercises, multimedia features and classroom activities can also be accessed more directly through the 'Select
subject' tab .
Within this area of the website, the exercises and multimedia features are listed by subject area under a 'Try it' tab. Links
to exercise units are included providing access to the relevant background information needed to complete each exercise. Teacher's
notes for each exercise are included on a 'Teach it' tab.
The horizontal menu along the top of the website provides links to other tools such as resources, image galleries, a list
of glossary terms and a site map.
A list with references to relevant web sites has been made for further reading and ideas to related topics.
A glossary with definitions of specific terms is linked from the horizontal menu along the top of the website. The glossary is intended
to support teachers in their explanations of scientific phenomena and terms, which may not be easily understood by their students.
Throughout the text a key selection of glossary terms are highlighted in blue and underlined – if the mouse cursor is moved
over a glossary term within the text a yellow pop-up box containing the glossary definition will appear next to the word.
The ISS Education Kit on the web has been tested on the most common platforms and browsers. The interactive exercises are
displayed in a pop-up window and most of them require the
Flash Player 7
Shockwave Player 10
|The website is optimised for computers with the following technical specifications:
||Windows PC: Microsoft Internet Explorer v.5.5 / Mozilla Firefox v.1.0 / Netscape 7.2 or higher.
||Mozilla Firefox v.1.0 / Netscape 7.2 or higher
||800 x 600 pixels
||High Color (16 Bit)
ISS Education Team,
European Space Agency, ESTEC
P.O. Box 299,
2200 AG Noordwijk