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WebQuests (ICT Integration)

Space Exploration (Gr 7-9)

Space is one of the most fascinating areas of study for learners of all ages. The study of science allows children to develop an appreciation of themselves, their place in the world, and Earth’s place in the universe. Every child has pondered, “What’s out there, and where do I fit in this big puzzle?” The learning projects in this section deal with space explorations and activities beginning in the mid-twentieth century, continuing through to today, and forecasting space programmes and travel in the future.

In each project, learners work in teams and use resources from the Internet, videos, books, and journals to research, dissect, and apply information in a variety of ways. The activities go beyond mere role-playing. Learners become researchers, strategic planners, and global decision makers in a fascinating area of study. Read through this theme carefully before you introduce it to your learners. Adapt and adjust it so that it is viable for learners, in both your school and community. Select which aspects you will complete and which assessment tools you will therefore need. Project 1: The Race to Space considers the history of space exploration and travel, the events that surrounded the magnificent “firsts,” and all the marvelous things we’ve learned from numerous trials and advances in this area. This historical perspective provides an exciting backdrop for learners to learn how space programmes around the world have grown, and the circumstances that shaped those programmes.

Next, learners work on researching current space programmes in Project 2: Task Force on Space Exploration. This research includes cultural, social, environmental, safety, and economic issues. Learners are challenged to define the future of space discovery based on research of past endeavors, budget and management issues, and an overall benefit analysis to determine if governments should continue to fund and support space exploration. As with other learning projects, learners use a variety of tools to research, draft, edit, publish, and share their findings.

The focus of Project 3: To Mars and Beyond is tomorrow’s space issue. Learners take on the role of futurists, planning for a potential colony on Mars. Planning efforts stress careful research, thorough consideration of risks, and a well-planned strategy for success. This strategy requires learners to look at past lessons and learn from mistakes made in earlier space travel, to examine current issues surrounding international space programmes, and to recognise the importance of the detailed planning required to move forward with a Mars colonisation effort. Learners work in teams to determine the types of equipment needed, the jobs that must be created and filled, and how life will be supported and sustained. The teams also decide how to establish a governing body to handle any problems that may arise in a colony on Mars.

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