POLAR STAR Online Summer School 2020

20-31 July 2020

The POLAR STAR online course 2020 draws materials and is organized in the context of the POLAR STAR project which continues the development of the PLATON project methodology and adds-in high quality activities on Arctic research and Astronomy that cover both primary and secondary education.

The overall goal of the course is twofold:

  • to upgrade teachers’ current practices by introducing to them a seamless STEAM methodology
  • to introduce contemporary science achievements through activities that focus on Arctic Research and Astronomy.

More specifically, it will introduce to teachers how to

  • switch from a teacher-centered approach to a student-centered approach
  • teach all STEM disciplines through a seamless methodology that also incorporates artistic expression
  • use an interdisciplinary approach to form their own STEM curriculum

The course is designed for teaching professionals in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Teachers of primary education can also attend the course. The maximum number of participants is 20. Participants need to speak and understand English and have a stable internet connection.

There are 20 places available! Make sure you register to secure your participation: 

The course’s main objective is to introduce to teachers innovative learning methods that have demonstrably engaged young children in science in the long term and help them develop 21st century skills. More specifically the objectives of the summer school are:

  • Introduce an overall STEAM methodology to teachers that meets the needs of different types of students and that harmonicall blends the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Art;
  • Facilitate teachers in switching from a teacher-centred to a student-centred type of every day teaching and thus enable them to use an inquiry-based approach in their every day class;
  • Enable teachers to design their own STEM curricula using a knowledge structure that overarches all science disciplines.
  • Foster interdisciplinary teaching by introducing innovative collaboration techniques between teachers of different science disciplines. The course will offer teachers the necessary tools to synchronize their teaching and facilitate the common, interdisciplinary creation of learning activities.
  • Acquaint participants with activities on Arctic Research and Astornomy topics and showcase how they can be used in the science classroom.
  • Introduce to teachers self-assessment and reflection tools that go beyond traditional assessment methods and focus on higher-order-thinking aspects of science.that go beyond traditional assessment methods and focus on higher-order-thinking aspects of science.

Participating teachers will also be invited to be part of an active and growing community of practice to exchange and share ideas, experiences, concerns and educational resources with colleagues from all over Europe and beyond.

The course is designed  to promote collaboration among teachers and engage them in inspiring interactive sessions.

Participating teachers will be invited to work in small groups and complete a set of tasks. During the sessions, they will be encouraged discuss ideas and exchange experiences. Through these workshop participating teachers will be introduced to Design Thinking, Inquiry and Interdisciplinary Learning while they will also get acquainted with methods and techniques that will allow them to introduce these concepts in their class gradually and at their own pace without having to step too much outside their comfort zone. They will learn how to take the best of many worlds, use high quality learning tools and organize them under a methodological plan that designates how the tools can be apt for use in a complementary way as different elements of one seamless methodology. This way, they will optimise the use of each of these tools, ensure that they obtain a deeper understanding of the capabilities, functions and added value of each of them and that they are in position to decide and choose the best tool to be used depending on the needs of their class at any given point.

The course includes mostly interactive sessions, presentations and reflection sessions and it will be divided into 4 modules. For each module, a set of tasks will be assigned to participants. Participants delivering all assigned tasks will receive a certificate of participation.

Participation in this course is free!!!

The course is designed for teaching professionals in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Teachers of primary education can also attend the course.

The course is designed for teaching professionals in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Teachers of primary education can also attend the course.

Times are CEST Monday 20/7 Tuesday 21/7 Wednesday 22/7 Thursday 23/7 Friday 24/7
11:00 – 13:00

Introduction to POLAR STAR

Science as a whole

Science as a whole – Ever tried an escape room? STEAM education
part 1
STEAM education
part 2
Monday 27/7 Tuesday 28/7 Wednesday 29/7 Thursday 30/7 Friday 31/7
11:00 – 13:00 POLAR kit activities STAR kit activities

The importance of students’ Assessment


Participants will have a common workspace for uploading and downloading educational materials.

Participants will have to get acquainted with the training topics as well as the course methodology by accessing the materials and tools which will be made available in advance.

Eleftheria Tsourlidaki (EA)

Eleftheria Tsourlidaki has graduated from the physics department of the University of Crete where she specialized in computational physics. In 2008 she got her master degree in Astrophysics and Mechanics from the physics department of the University of Athens. Her research is focused on the improvement of the educational procedure by implementing new technologies and achieving maximum interaction between students. Her working experience includes teaching physics, chemistry and mathematics in high school and junior high school students. She has been working in the “Research and Development” department of “Ellinogermaniki Agogi” since January 2010 and her main activity is designing educational scenarios based on using new technologies as well as, training school teachers in using new technologies.

Marios Papaevripidou is a Specialist Teaching Fellow of Science Education and a Senior Research Associate of the Research in Science and Technology Education Group at the Department of Education of the University of Cyprus. He completed a B.A in Education, an M.A in Learning in Natural Sciences, and a PhD in Learning in Natural Sciences at the University of Cyprus. His research interests entail the use of modelling as both a learning tool and an instructional approach in science teaching and learning, and also the design and research validation of science education curriculum materials to foster teachers’ professional development in modelling-centered scientific inquiry. He participated in several research projects that focused on enhancing students’ competence in science through modelling- and inquiry-based activities and preparing teachers’ to enact science teaching through modelling-centred scientific inquiry with the use of technology.

Yvoni Pavlou is currently a Ph.D. candidate in “Learning in Natural Sciences” of the University of Cyprus. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education (University of Cyprus, 2015) and a M.A. degree in “Learning in Natural Sciences” (University of Cyprus, 2017). Her research interests concern teachers’ professional development and the training of teachers for designing and implementing innovative educational approaches. She has been working as a teaching and research assistant in the “Research in Science and Technology Education Group” (ReSciTEG) at the University of Cyprus since 2015. Her instructional duties include the preparation and instruction of laboratory courses for undergraduate students as part of their enrollment in the courses EDU 336: Teaching of Natural Sciences and EDU 435 Natural Sciences in Early Childhood.

Agata Goździk has graduated from the Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Warsaw, and received PhD in Earth Sciences. She worked as a deputy director of the Department of Environmental Education at the Ministry of the Environment, and managed the Partnership for Climate project. On behalf of the Minister of the Environment, she ran 11 secondary forest schools. She coordinates activities of Scientix National Contact Point in Poland.

Frances McCarthy is Education Officer, she has worked in formal and informal education environments and developed and delivered education workshops and activities for all ages of learners, from primary students to adults including Primary and Second Level Teacher CPD. She is the BCO media spokesperson and a regular on Irish broadcast networks.

Iratxe Menchaca has a degree in Pedagogy at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain) in 2005. She is researcher at Deusto Learning Lab since 2011 and works on the educational design of learning objects and as pedagogical consultant in several European projects. Her research areas include innovative use of technology in education, learning analytics, instructional design, competence assessment, and the integration of games and mobile devices in education. She has experience as educational consultant, on-line tutor and responsible for the management, programming and evaluation of sociocultural activities.

Oihane Zarate is researcher assistant in Deusto Learning Lab. Graduated in Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain) in 2016. She works on projects related to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) areas promotion in education, preparing and providing training to pre-university students and teachers in different disciplines like educational robotics and programming and digital culture. Her main interest is focused on computational thinking development and innovative use of technology in schools.

Invited Speakers

Jackie Bondell is Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for OzGrav, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, developing educational content for public outreach events and curriculum for school incursion programs, focusing on incorporating innovative technology. She designs curriculum-driven science lessons that effectively incorporate VR into student-centred activities while aligning with curriculum standards. With a passion for promoting STEM to traditionally underrepresented populations, she aspires to reach more female students as well as those in rural and regional areas of Australia. Prior to joining OzGrav, Jackie spent 15 years as a Physics instructor in the US. During her teaching career, she was the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the National Science Teachers Association (US) Technology Award for Innovative Use of Technology in Science Teaching. She holds a Masters Degree in Astrophysics and is a National (US) Board Certified Teacher of Secondary Physical Science.

Dagmara Bożek – polar logistics specialist at Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, member of 35th Polar Expedition to the Polish Polar Station Hornsund on Spitsbergen (2012-2013) and 40th Antarctic Expedition to the Polish Antarctic Station Arctowski on King George Island (2015-2016), specialist at educational projects concerning polar regions (EDUSCIENCE, EDU-ARCTIC, EDU-ARCTIC PL).

Marina Molla is a teacher in Primary School, a Scientix Ambassador and the Diversity Officer of the Southeast Europe Hub of the Europlanet Society. She has graduated from the Faculty of Primary Education of the University of Ioannina and the department of History and Ethnology of the Democritus University of Thrace. She has in-service training at the Didaskaleio “Theodoros Kastanos” of the Faculty of Primary Education of Democritus University of Thrace. In 2019 she got her master’s degree in Local History – Interdisciplinary Approaches from the department of History and Ethnology of the Democritus University of Thrace. Her research is focused on Oral History through Refugee testimonies, Collective Memory and Space. She is an in-service teacher and has been for 18 years. She has served as a teacher in the Minority Primary Schools of Thrace for 10 years and is currently teaching at the 9th Primary School of Komotini. She is a PLATON and an OSOS Teacher and has been implementing STEAM projects with an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and inquiry based learning that introduce and promote the “Big Ideas of Science”.

POLAR STAR (http://polar-star.ea.gr/) aims to bring together state-of-the-art learning pedagogies and combine them with exciting activities that focus on contemporary science, thus helping teachers to introduce STEAM successfully in their class. At the same time the project focuses on the development of students’ key skills and competences as well as deepening their knowledge of fundamental science principles, increasing their appreciation of science and technology and their role in todays’ societies.

Go-Lab (https://www.golabz.eu/) arose from the successful Go-Lab project (2012-2016) and gave the initiative its name. The aim of the Go-Lab Initiative is to facilitate the use of innovative learning technologies in STEM education, with a particular focus on online laboratories (Labs) and inquiry learning applications (Apps). Using the Go-Lab ecosystem, teachers can find various Labs and Apps, and create customized Inquiry Learning Spaces (ILSs). Furthermore, the Go-Lab Initiative conducts training for teachers on the topics of Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE), development of 21st-century skills, and the use of ICT and the Go-Lab ecosystem in the classroom.