On Fri 25th Feb, 2005, Simon Buckingham Shum ran 3 hands-on, interactive sessions with 90 Year 5 pupils (9+10 yr olds) at Bushfield Middle School, Wolverton, Milton Keynes, introducing them to the joint work he's been doing with the Mobile Agents Project at NASA (as part of the e-Science CoAKTinG Project).
Pupils were shown videos of key moments in the history of human space exploration, before learning that NASA and KMi have been working together to rehearse the exploration of Mars by scientists in perhaps 30 years' time. Year 5 then took part in their own mini-simulation, using the same tools that are used in real field trial: digital camera, digital camcorder, and the Compendium concept mapping tool being developed in KMi. To simulate Mars astronauts collecting and analysing science data, pupils took digital photos and movies of certain 'alien lifeforms' in the classroom, which were then imported into the Compendium Science Dialogue Maps for discussion. This gave the pupils a taste of their questions, ideas and arguments being mapped in real time.
A resource website was published by the end of the day for pupils, staff and anyone else interested to follow-up.