Virtual Pathways took part in the Scientix conference entitled Creative & Modern STEM Educational Practices that was held in Belgrade from 10 to 11 December 2021. Organised by the Center for the Promotion of Science, which is the National Contact Point of Scientix for Serbia, the event brought together around 80 primary and secondary science teachers from all over the country. Participants had the opportunity to get introduced to innovative approaches and good practices in the field of STE(A)M education, but also to present results of Erasmus+ and other EU funded projects in which they have been involved, and most importantly to exchange ideas on how to adapt their teaching practice to the changing educational landscape as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Angelos Alexopoulos on stage during his plenary talk at the Scientix conference in Belgrade.

On the first day of the conference, Dr. Angelos Alexopoulos (EA) gave a plenary talk entitled Open Schooling for Science Learning Continuum for All, during which he presented, among other initiatives, the Virtual Pathways project and its envisaged contribution to engage effectively students with projects and activities that simulate the real scientific work by building on the strengths of both formal and informal science pedagogy that can prove impactful and resilient to unpredictable disruptions such as the current pandemic crisis.

On the second day, a group of Serbian Scientix ambassadors went for an outdoor walk to test the Virtual Solar System Model, one of the flagship activities of Virtual Pathways designed by the University of Helsinki.

The objective of this activity is to give the user an understanding of the sizes of the planets in relation to each other and the sun, and to demonstrate the vast distances between the planets in the solar system, especially when approaching the outer space. It both gives the user factual knowledge about space and planets and teaches understanding of magnitudes and ability to make scale related calculations, sometimes based on rough estimates. But how does this activity work in practice?

Using the Seppo-platform, a web-based application that is extremely easy to use on a smartphone, the teacher (or the person responsible for arranging the solar system at the school, science centre, etc.) places the planets on the map, the correct distance away from the sun (the starting point) on the chosen scale. On the suggested scale of 1: 1,000,000,000, the distances from the sun are as follows: Mercury 58m, Venus 108m, Earth 150m, Mars 228m, Jupiter 778m, Saturn 1400m, Uranus 2900m, and Neptune 4500m. On the Seppo-platform, existing solar systems can be copied to other locations. The teacher can then move the planets along their orbits (i.e. without changing the distance to the Sun) to suitable spots.

The activity can be executed using many different scales. It can also be played as a game. At each of the planets, the users answer a trivia question about the planet in question and get points for the correct answers.

Serbian Scientix Ambassadors at the entrance of the Center for the Promotion of Science ready to embark on their journey to Mars.

Equipped with their umbrellas and smartphones, the teachers together with Dr. Alexopoulos started their “solar journey” outside the Center for the Promotion of Science building, which represented the Sun. Given the heavy rain, the journey from the Sun included 4 stops, starting from Mercury and ending with Mars.

The map of the the solar journey from Sun (green spot) to Mars (grey spot at the far left end) as shown in the smartphone screen.

Despite the heavy rain, the group managed to navigate through their path and after several searches, answers to trivia questions and lots of fun accomplished their mission to Mars. And faster than SpaceX!

Happy Serbian teachers just after “landing” on Mars.

Interested in testing the Virtual Solar System Model with your students? If yes, feel free to contact us to help you customise the activity according to your school’s air max 2013 mens grey boots for women black | Prices & Collaborations, adidas Country OG UA Dark Marine/White , adidas jungle camo 2007 for sale cheap craigslist, Release Dates , Adidas , Sneaker Calendar

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VIRTUAL PATHWAYS is a project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union (REF: 2020-1-FI01-KA226-SCH-092545). The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.