Bird’s Eye View: Saving the World from Space
Related Subjects:
Advocacy , Environmental Science , Environmental Studies , Interdisciplinary Studies , Mathematics , Science , Social Studies , Technology and Skilled Trades , United States History , World History
Social Issue:
Target Grade Level(s):
Grade / Year 11 , Grade / Year 12

  • What social issue will your video conference address? There are several social issues that could be covered in this global encounter. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) addresses various global challenges with the advantage of its unique view of Earth from space. To name a few: freshwater availability, food security, and impact of natural disasters. The essential question - How are other international space associations doing their parts to make the world a better place? And what do our astronauts recommend for us to do here on Earth in order to take action?

  • What subject(s) and grade level(s) would be appropriate for students to be involved? This project would be most appropriate for high school students (juniors or seniors), but can be modified to the developmental age of younger students. This project can be made into a cross-curricular assignment. In science class, students can research environmental issues in relation to space exploration or can conduct experiments on natural disasters. In social studies, students can research the history of NASA and other international space associations. In ELA, students can have a debate on the best ways to tackle the issues or write a persuasive essay that urges others to take a stand. This project can even carry over into math class. Many students may not realize that astronauts use mathematics all the time! If students are interested in space as a future profession, research can also be conducted on possible careers in the field. The opportunities are limitless! Sample math resource:

  • Would you seek to involve other schools from your community, across the country, or from particular countries or regions around the world to foster the ideal conversation? Absolutely! Students from each of the countries listed above would be invited to participate. Students can discuss the strategies learned from each space station and what they would look like in their perspective environments. Students can discuss if the strategies would make sense in their own neighborhoods, or how they can be modified. Research can be allocated to specific schools. If the global conference covers multiple issues as opposed to just focusing on one (i.e. freshwater availability, food security, and impact of natural disasters), each region can be assigned one specific issue and then share their findings, almost like a global “jigsaw” assignment.

  • What type of activity would students complete before the video conference session that they could share during the conference? Students would need to complete research on the key issues in order to determine the most worthwhile questions to ask. Students should be able to choose the global issue that most interests them and focus their research on that particular problem. Other research can include learning about each individual country: customs, history, landscape, etc.

  • Would there be a follow-up action that students would take to deepen their learning? Students can create a presentation to share with other members of the community that did not participate in the video conferences. The presentation would be informative/persuasive in nature. With this presentation, students will share their experiences working with global partners and discuss ways in which we can all do our parts as world citizens, and why it is so critical for us to act now.

  • How would you assess their participation? Students can be assessed using a rubric for each phase of the assignment. In the beginning stage, students need to conduct an acceptable amount of research. They can be evaluated on their involvement in the conference, if they drafted appropriate questions and if they spoke to the partners during the conference. Their final presentation should be assessed for effectiveness, accuracy and creativity. Also on this rubric, taken from the ITSE 2017 lecture session “If You Hate Assessment You Might Be Doing It Wrong,” would be the “Unintended Learning” section. Here, students can discuss what they learned by completing this global encounter that was not included on the rubric. This encourages students to delve deeper into these topics and shows them that it is okay for them to explore outside the parameters of an assignment.