In a few short weeks, a group of Diocesan students will boldly go where no group of Diocesan students has gone before: the CASE Space Camp, USA
It’s the ultimate field trip – they’ll be staying in a futuristic space habitat and training as astronauts. For the last year, the 57 students have been preparing for their trip to the CASE Space School International Study Program at the Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, where America’s space programme began.
The Diocesan students are part of a group of 165 girls from all over the North Island, who will be attending both the Junior Space School and the Senior Space School.
At the Johnson Space Center, the girls will be inspired by what is possible and will learn about the past, present and future of space travel and technology. They'll see the Saturn V rocket, the first rocket to take man to the moon in 1969. They will also have the opportunity to see the latest space technology such as the Orion Spacecraft, designed to take humans deeper into space than ever before.
The CASE Programme provides students with the opportunity to learn and apply transportable skills at NASA, one of the world’s most profound and inspiring STEAM environments. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.
Students will be immersed deep inside NASA locations to experience the technology of the past, present, and future. They’ll participate in simulated space shuttle missions, taking on various roles within a team to overcome the challenges they may encounter. They’ll also be inspired by some of the brightest minds in the world, including scientists, astronauts, engineers and entrepreneurs.
For the senior students, one of the highlights will be working with NASA experts and educators to manage a virtual ‘$600 million mission to Mars’ project. Teams will allocate resources to build and launch a rocket, engineer a heat-shield, design and test a safe lander mechanism, construct and compete against other teams with their rover, and finally design and build a habitat capable of sustaining life. This intensive project enables students to learn enhanced communication skills, leading by influence, budget allocation, curiosity and imagination.
Year 12 Diocesan student, Anneke Cummack, describes herself as a ‘proud nerd with a passion for anything sciencey’. The winner of the Alliance Space School Scholarship (which covers all costs of the Camp), she says she has a never ending desire to learn about new things and share these with others, for which this trip will be the perfect opportunity.
‘From seeing awesome ground breaking technology, to meeting inspiring astronauts, scientists and engineers, being challenged to problem solve, meeting like-minded girls from other schools, being immersed in amazing learning about such a range of space topics, and actually going to NASA..I am ‘jump-around-the-room’ excited for every day of this trip.”
The programme aims to develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, teamwork and leadership skills, inspire curiosity and to help them establish some long-term goals. They’ll need all of these to face the future.
Statistics show that in the next 30 years, 75% of the fastest growing professions will require STEAM-related skills. About half of today’s professions will disappear, while 50% of professions in the next 30 years don’t even currently exist. Young students of today will experience dozens of career changes, and dozens of jobs in each career.
To successfully navigate through such a fast-changing environment, students need to master critical STEAM-related skill sets, to help them become the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the future.
Business development manager at Actura, Tegan Morrell, said: “Whilst it would be great to inspire the next astronaut, more importantly, this is a great opportunity for the girls to realise there are so many different career paths in STEAM internationally but also in our own creative backyard. In New Zealand, we have Rocket Lab, who have just received $140m in funding to develop and launch advanced rocket technology, to provide rapid and repeatable access to orbit for small satellites. Rocket Lab are driven to broaden the horizons of what’s already possible in space and are inspired by the possibilities not yet imagined.”
Diocesan’s Teacher in Charge of Physics, Rob Boasman, said: “Having represented NZ at the Teacher of the Year Space Camp in 2007, I know what an amazing experience this will be for the students. From role-playing simulations to hands-on science, our students will have the opportunity to experience the best aspects of STEAM education at the cutting edge of space technology.”