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Manuela Ortigão

Escola Básica Sophia de Mello Breyner - Portugal

Maria Manuela Meneses Ortigão de Oliveira (Manuela Ortigão) teaches Physics and Chemistry to students ranging in age from 11 to 15. 

Manuela is an active use of ISE resources and participates regularly in ISE activities in Portugal. She also submitted an entry to the 2014-2015 Learning with Light competition, which was of such high quality that it was Highly Commended.

Learning with Light competition entry

Manuela’s entry to the competition is called "SEM - Light and shadow". Describing her entry Manuela says :

Following an IBL sequence, the students had to produce scientific explanations about moon phases and solar eclipse through the production and use of Sun-Earth-Moon (SEM) models, exploration of software Stellarium and the observation of the partial solar eclipse on March 22th 2015.

This IBL scenario allows students to learn about the concepts and its contexts through the exploration of the big idea of science: “objects can affect other objects at a distance” (in this case Sun, Moon and Earth) and also that “Science is a search to explain and understand phenomena in the natural world”. Students learn that the “proposed explanations should be based on supporting evidence from observations and experiments” and that “scientific explanations, theories and models are those that best fit the facts known at a particular time.

In order to motivate our students about the importance of observation, description and investigation of the phenomena through the use of models in astronomy, we started with the presentation of a film about the life of Galileo and the advances in technologies that enable further scientific activity (http://goo.gl/ubM6F2). Then the students in small groups explored the software Stellarium available here: http://goo.gl/GcBryi. Then, using a similar approach as described on the “Moon Phases” resource hosted on the ISE portal http://goo.gl/In3djo, the students observed the moon phases during a month using the software stellarium, used a Sun-Earth-Moon (SEM) model and draw the moon phases in black small cards they put in the correct positions. In order to predict the observations of the partial solar eclipse occurred on March 20th, the students explored two video simulations: http://goo.gl/e1SLHv , http://goo.gl/d7n7hN and the software Stellarium. The last activity was performed by the students on the partial solar eclipse day using a reflector telescope and safety glasses.