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Space Awareness [clear filter]
Thursday, October 18

9:30am EDT

Bringing Astronomy Alive - Student Engagement at John Abbott College
Traditional approaches in Introductory Astronomy use a historical evolution of information with relatively static learning outcomes. Part of the reason for this pedagogy is the diverse (typically limited) Astronomy backgrounds of students at the post-secondary level, from no prior exposure (aside from Primary and Secondary curriculum) to budding Astronomers, Astrophysicists and Aerospace Engineers. The role of these courses is typically to share basic information and skills, but often lacks focus on the possibilities (scientifically and career-wise), so that students who have an affinity for space sciences have a starting point to leap onto a career path. Actual observing opportunities, and self-directed learning are valuable tools to engage students directly in areas of interest, and bring Astronomy and Space Sciences alive...moving beyond the classroom.

The approach in our course at John Abbott College puts the depth and direction of content in the hands of the students. Recognizing that, in the digital and social media age most students have some exposure to recent discoveries, and more importantly they have access to information and current data that better represents the direction of space science they will experience, this allows each student to put their stamp on the learning outcomes of the course. Combining this with regular (weather pending), non-compulsory observing opportunities with RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) - Montreal Centre allows students to embrace the field in a manner that suits their interests and motivation. This has resulted in incredibly diverse term projects, and several initiatives that have moved beyond the scope of the Introductory Astronomy Course, but are being supported through other avenues to foster student engagement. As well, other departments and courses are now taking advantage of the Astronomy activities to engage their students beyond the classroom.

This talk will give an overview of the course setup, a sampling of the student projects and the multi-disciplinary initiatives, and describe some of the student engagement that has moved beyond the scope of the course.

avatar for Karim Jaffer

Karim Jaffer

Student, John Abbott College
I have been at John Abbott College (JAC) since 2006 teaching a variety of Physics and Pathways courses, and began teaching the Introductory Astronomy course in 2016 - including the coordination of Astronomy observing activities, outreach, and all Astronomy-related projects in various... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

9:50am EDT

Arts and Science and Space
I will discuss how I used the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library as a forum for College level students to explore ideas for self directed research culminating in a work of art. I will give a brief summary of how contemporary artists are incorporating current space research into their artistic investigations. I will then provide examples of student projects from the 2018 John Abbott College Arts and Science Studio Art course that gave SPACE as the thematic to be explored through a visual means. Students used sound, video, drawing, painting and sculpture to create projects that were inspired by material located in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada library housed at John Abbott College in Montreal. The purpose of the project was to allow students to examine concepts of space in a very personal and creative manner. The presentation will provide examples of how very complex ideas around space can be experienced and relayed through visual means. I will provide a selection of 5 examples from the student projects using slide presentations in order to present a range of outcomes submitted for the course. Examples from my own studio practice will also be given to contextualize the project. This presentation will expose participants to how the arts and sciences are being bridged within the visual arts and how creativity, imagination, and exploration can be used to create independent works of art based on the vast and complex topic of space.

avatar for Sheila Nadimi

Sheila Nadimi

Professor, John Abbott College
I am a faculty member within the Visual Arts Department of John Abbott College. John Abbott College initiated an Arts and Science program in 2008 and I was responsible for developing the studio art component for this program. I am a visual artist with an interest in the intersection... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 9:50am - 10:10am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1

10:10am EDT

STEM Education with the KickSat Sprite: Practicum in the Developing World
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

2:15pm EDT

Reaching for the Stars: How To Empower the Next Generation With Space
Since organizing a Solar Eclipse Event in August 2017 with over 2000 members of the public in attendance, speaker Emilie Lafleche continues to actively seek ways to reach younger audiences with her passion for space. After an opportunity to host an astronomy-themed workshop for the Girl Guides of Canada, she and her peer, Sam Henle, founded Stars and Stuff, a workshop-centric, non-profit organization with the goal of making space education fun and accessible for all youth, as well as to open doors for enthusiastic young students within the space industry. During this talk, participants will learn tips on how to share their love for space with others, and experience what this up-and-coming, student-led organization has to offer the next generation of stargazers.

avatar for Emilie Lafleche

Emilie Lafleche

Summer research intern, student, McGill Space Institute, iREx, McGill University
Emilie is a second-year Honours Planetary Science student at McGill University. Over the course of her studies, she discovered her love of astrobiology and observational astronomy, and has become a youth advocate for space education in her community. She has partnered several times... Read More →

Thursday October 18, 2018 2:15pm - 2:45pm EDT
Room G Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1
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