- Laurence Russell
The Andy Thomas Space Foundation launches primary and high school space science and tech programs
Piloted in 2021, these programs are two of the nine educational scholarship and award opportunities on offer from the Foundation in 2022 and approach space innovation and education in unique and interactive ways.
Andy Thomas Space Foundation Chair, Michael Davis AO, said the importance of supporting space education initiatives in schools is evidenced by the response of the students to the learning and problem-solving challenges they are presented with.
“Space-related projects are a wonderful source of inspiration for students, and they also assist to shape tomorrow’s space workforce,” Davis said.
The primary school program is in collaboration with the South Australian education technology company Makers Empire and utilises design challenges to expose students to space innovation with the assistance of 3D printing and app-supported development resources.
Two to five teachers from each school will train with subject-matter experts who will share how space technology is being used to solve problems on earth.
Co-CEO of Makers Empire, Jon Soong, said the program helps young students develop an interest in space.
“It engages them in STEM learning connected to real-world problem-solving to gain an understanding of some of the pathways to a career in space,” he said.
The secondary school program is coordinated by Hamilton Secondary College and facilitates the use of the Aldrin Foundation’s Giant Mars Map to engage students in a deeper understanding of space travel.
Principal of Hamilton Secondary College, Peta Kourbelis, said she was excited to see that the range of projects proposed by schools is increasingly innovative.
“More rural schools are involved, allowing students from throughout South Australia to find out about the amazing opportunities available in the rapidly expanding space sector,” she said.