Accessibility and Flexibility in Experiential Aerospace Education
AlbertaSat is a group composed of students and faculty at the University of Alberta whose mission is to design, build, test, and launch (with support of the Canadian Space Agency) cube satellites. Building off the innovative experiences of our technical teams, our educational outreach team has been able to develop initiatives for students from kindergarten to grade 12 across Western Canada. We run classroom sessions and participate in other events which teach students experiential skills directly related to space exploration and development. To date, our educational outreach team at AlbertaSat has reached over 4500 students across Western Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a need to adapt the way educational activities are conducted and has shown just how important accessibility and flexibility is when it comes to education. We accepted the challenge to adapt our lessons with regards to delivery methods. Each lesson plan underwent a thorough process of iteration, improvement, and development for in-person, hybrid, and remote learning. In the process of revitalising our lessons, we also focused on relating curriculum outcomes to the real world. We introduce students from kindergarten to grade 9 to a selection of different space science roles. Our sessions range from satellite design to software and electronics development to Computer Aided Design (CAD). For high-school classrooms, we work with teachers to create individualised lessons for their students’ skills and interests. Recently, we have worked with the Lacombe Composite High School’s Robotics Club where we taught programming in C and Python; 3D CAD modelling; wildfire sciences and optics; and provided in-depth lessons about our satellites’ subsystems. Our efforts bring the cutting edge into the classroom and show students that careers in aerospace are within their reach.
Authors: Gebara, J., Truran, K., Dagenais, Z., Pantinople, V., Chao, E., Jarales, H., Hoover, A., Ganley, T., Ball, K., Knudsen, S., Lipsett, M. G., Mann, I. R.
Published in: Canada International Conference on Education, 2022
- Date of Conference: 21-23 June, 2022
- DOI: 10.20533/CICE.2022.0030
- Electronic ISBN: 978-1-913572-49-5
- Conference Location: Virtual (Mississauga, Canada)