Thursday, October 18 • 10:10am - 10:30am
STEM Education with the KickSat Sprite: Practicum in the Developing World

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Sprites are picosatellites, already flown on several real missions (KickSat 1, Latvia's Venta, Italy's Max Valier) and manifested for KickSat 2, expected to launch in late 2018 or early 2018. Sprites can be programmed using Arduino. As satellites, in their design and operation, studying how they work can clarify the more counter-intuitive aspects of the space environment and some of the technology used to cope with, and make use of, that environment. By way of the Sprite's low cost, tiny scale, and open source design, there seems to be great promise for introducing students in the developing world to the rudiments of physics, electronics, communications theory and software engineering, in middle schools and high schools.

Recent educational psychology research suggests that certain mental capacities related to visual imagination are stoked by the exposure to physics. As well, research into project-oriented education suggests that lessons are learned better when students must organize themselves to make real things. Is the combination synergistic? And can that combination work in developing-world, with its lower education budgets, lower standards, and added stresses on the student?

Project Persephone's approach to using the Sprite in STEM education is based on lesson plans in which the students take part in planning the exercise of the Sprite in various simulated environments, using equipment and materials that students can construct, from components that are affordable in their regions. It is expected that the learning value of this extended, hands-on, project-based approach, with its strong emphasis on revealing physical principles, will not only greatly exceed the learning value of passively-consumed illustrations and demonstrations, but also signficantly exceed the learning value of simple hands-on exercises of the Sprite's (admittedly very limited) capabilities.

avatar for Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Executive Director, Project Persephone
I am leading a non-governmental, non-profit space program that has a strong emphasis on bringing the benefits of space development to equatorial mountain regions.

Thursday October 18, 2018 10:10am - 10:30am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1