Local schools chosen to participate in global, space-connected science project
The Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Constantia and Claremont High School were chosen to participate along with 90 other schools around the world in a global, space-connected science project when Nasa’s SpaceX launched Dragon CRS-14 aboard Falcon 9 from the USA on Monday 2 April.
The project, called ExoLab, is an experimental platform that connected scientists working on the ISS in real time with learners and teachers around the world in a collaborative investigation of the microgravity of living things. This project was made available in the South Africa by I-Innovate as part of its mission to facilitate cutting-edge STEM programmes, and to bring 21st century learning experiences into the country’s classrooms. The participation of the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology and Claremont High School in this particular ExoLab project was made possible through a sponsorship from Tata Consultancy Services.
I-Innovate CEO, Trisha Crookes, said, “The cutting-edge ExoLab programme gives South African teachers and students first-hand, real-time access to global scientists, engineers and astronauts. It connects students’ learning in the classroom directly to current endeavours in space, igniting the possibilities for their future and making learning personally meaningful and exciting to them through these unique, hands-on experiences. ExoLab is the kind of extraordinary educational experience that can inspire a passion for learning in a young person that will last them a lifetime.”
And according to Greg van Schalkwyk, principal at the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology: “This project with ExoLab makes the curriculum more relevant for our kids. They are living in a world of apps, virtual intelligence and robotics. This is an opportunity for our educators to collaborate with ExoLab and stimulate our kids through real-life exposure that can prepare them for future jobs.”
“I am thrilled with this project that will take us way beyond the classroom, literally into space,” said Murray Gibbon, principal of Claremont High School. “It is the kind of project that takes learning to a higher level with exciting and inspiring engagement with real science in the real world.”
To facilitate their participation in the project, the two schools each received fully equipped earth-based growth chambers and the resources they needed to replicate the experiment taking place on the ISS.
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