First LTTA meeting in Belgium - 13-17.11.2019

School principal Pietro Falcone, teachers and students from „GO! De Springplank ” school in Neeroeteren in Belgium were the hosts of the first meeting of the Erasmus + project ” Coding is Fun!. Teachers from other partner countries: Portugal, Poland, Spain and Turkey during their stay learned basics of education in Belgium and the rules of work with children aged 2.5 to 11 years.
The main purpose of the visit was to participate in trainings and activities related to the Astronomy, STEM and ICT methods. 16 teachers from partner countries and several from the host group participated in the LTTA (Learning Teaching Training Activities) workshops.
On the first training day, as a part of the „Coding by plugged and unplugged activities” classes, participants were introduced to the basics of coding. When working with the Dash & Dot and Ozobot robots, teachers used the basics of programming in writing and triggering written commands. The next workshops were held in classes, where guests from partner countries together with students participated in thematic practical exercises on the topics: Measuring is knowing, Static electricity, Swirling weather, Super structures, Air and aerodynamics, Under pressure, STEM & STEAM in kindegarten.
The next point was the meeting with the main coordinator of the project, Ewelina Pietrzyk, who started the meeting by presenting an action plan for the duration of the project until August 31st, 2021. All coordinators discussed the activities which were done in their school from 1 September till the meeting in Belgium. In all partner schools were selected the participants teams. All coordinators were discussing the activity they had to do on Skype and WhatsApp. Polish and Spanish schools with the help of Portuguese teachers set up the eTwinning project. In all schools the English teachers prepared a daily English speaking booklets which were presented during the meeting. Then the coordinators of partner schools presented graphic proposals of the project logo that won competitions in individual schools. All the works were very nice, interesting and caused representatives a big problem in choosing the winner. Finally, two logo designs won: first made by a student Józefina Erbel from Primary School No. 1 in Ustka and second made by a student Maria Clemente Clemente from the Miguel Pinilla school from Almansa in Spain. During the meeting, the coordinators also participated in training on cooperation on the eTwinning platform based on Twinspace. Teachers were also discussed how important is dissemination of project by different types of media. Till the next meeting teachers in all schools have to set up an Astro STEM Clubs and organize STEAM career days with experts in STEM + Astronomy fields.The coordinators agreed on the date of the next meeting in Spain in Almansa from 11th to 15th March 2020.
The second day was entitled „7 steps of investigative learning”. During the workshops, students together with teachers from partner schools had to build bridges through which small toy cars had to pass. Each group discussed their structure and their advantages and disadvantages. The children also built planes that took part in the competition for the longest flight. It was a real challenge for everyone, but it brought a lot of positive emotions. At the end of a busy day, the national teams struggled with escape room tasks.
On the last day of the training visit, representatives of partner schools were invited by the mayor of Maaseik Johan Tollenaere. The meeting was also attended by a representative of the City Council responsible for culture and tourism in Maaseik, Ms. Myriam Giebens. The mayor received a delegation in the representative hall of the office, talked about the city and the surrounding area. It is a picturesque region located on the Meuse river, bordering the Netherlands, having many landscape and tourist values.
On that day, the hosts also took teachers to the planetarium in Genk in the „Hoge Kempen” National Park. A journey through time from the beginning of space through evolution from the Big Bang to the present was an amazing cosmic adventure for all project participants. A huge telescope on an automatically rotating platform allowed for searching the celestial bodies in the starry sky. These experiences in the form of workshops were the culmination of training visit in Belgium.