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Use Space Projects to Launch STEAM Learning

Author: | Category: Making Magic

Meet the Maker

Kathleen Fredette, Director of STEAM Initiatives

How did you get involved in spacey stuff?
I was selected as an educator to fly a NASA mission on SOFIA, a flying observatory that houses an infrared telescope. This launched me into all things aerospace.

What is it about space that's so interesting?
It’s the explorer, the philosopher, the dreamer in all of us — our souls reaching for the heavens.

What’s the "why" for this week’s Making Magic?
In the STEAM department, we go to great lengths to make space-related learning and opportunities available to our learners and facilitators because the study, wonder and interest in space are perfectly aligned with our STEAM programs, as well as with project-based and deeper learning.

This Week’s Focus

Studying Space to Inspire STEAM Learning

Driving Question

How can we use space to inspire and engage learning while broadening possibilities for young people and our learning community?

As of this writing, I am in Cape Canaveral, Florida, having just witnessed two iLEAD and Maker Learning Network learner-authored-and-developed experiments blast to the International Space Station on SpaceX CRS-22, so I thought it fitting to take a few minutes to unwind the "why." Prior to liftoff, our organizations were represented at Kennedy Space Center as two teams spoke in the Mission to Mars Center about their experiments, witnessed by our delegation of proud family members and educators.

Seriously, in the history of ever, few are able to develop and send experiments to space, yet this marks #8 and #9 from our young people.

We hear a lot about STEM or STEAM these days and our need to encourage our young people to engage and develop these areas. If we pause to decode “STEAM,” we can see that the study, wonder and interest in space are inextricably connected:

  • Science: all aspects.
  • Technology: tech and innovations required and applied.
  • Engineering: applied skills and knowledge use.
  • Arts and Design: the cycle of creating and making better, more useful and beautiful.
  • Math: modeling the unknown and developing paths forward through algorithms.
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