Benefits of Hosting
There are many benefits to hosting Galactic Challenge. Boys and girls know that no adults have ever lived on Mars, or Venus or an asteroid, to they know that this is something where having ideas still matters. Big ideas, imaginative but purposeful ideas, astonishing ideas.
But young students also know that you have to live, eat, sleep, breathe, learn, play, stay healthy, have medical care, have beauty, have day/night, have transport, have… The fundamental concept of designing a space settlement comes naturally to them because they live in designed settlements on Earth: they can relate to the mission, but it is just much cooler to design it for another planet.
And it is not fantasy: they can be told that there are governments and billionaires racing to be the ones to get to Mars and put a human boot print on it.
For science and engineering detail, there is the internet. For appreciating the issues, there is real life experience. Kids do life really well.
Immersive project-based learning for mixed-ability teams
Longitudinal follow-up is possible – progress and build upon the experience towards the senior competition
Space exploration and settlement (and tourism) is a current topic which is often reported in the media
Global topic incorporating aspirational exploration, science, engineering, health, food, transport, quality of life, viability of life, feasibility, invention, reliability, human factors, imagination, Imagineering, communication, graphical presentation, design drawing, design explanation, teamwork, decision-making, deadline-handling, team ownership, compromise, negotiation, defending ideas, thinking on your feet.
School teachers do not have to have prior knowledge of the topic: it can be one-off
If schools wish to create clubs around the scheme, it lends itself to many existing themes/clubs/activities
Suits school collaborations of primary schools with high schools (gives a reason for collaborating)
Justification can be based on the enjoyment of students from engaging in immersive technical projects: the benefits are not dependent on students learning particular science principles, but on students learning about their own capacity to engage in a challenge currently being undertaken by adults in real life.
Evidence of Valid learning activity: the original concept comes from NASA specialists, has attracted 30 years worth of thousands of students from India to Australia to England to USA, and the topic has stayed current since the 1960s moon landings.
Highlight science/engineering events which allow kids to pull together life experience with school learning with investigation, and which the teachers and parents could discuss and debate with the children (“should our family move to Mars in 2030? What would it be like?”)
Intensity (intellectual, time, performance) without risk (groupwork, outside of exam curriculum, for the pleasure of learning, supervised by school teachers and volunteers)
See the end result: children participate in a Q&A with experts, defending their design concept, after intense hours of work
It’s fun, but do they learn?
When you drive your child to a Galactic Challenge, you could be having conversations about what you want for dinner when they come home in the evening.
When they come home in the evening, you can have a conversation with them about how difficult it would be to replicate that meal on Mars. Should you take the food to Mars? Grow the food on Mars? Does it take energy? Does it cost too much? Where will the water come from? can people survive on a boring nutritious diet? Should there be junk food on Mars? Should cooks be as important as astronauts at a space settlement?
GC normalises the idea that children can have long, immersive learning events and rise to the occasion. They can engage with very grown-up discussions on logistics without having to know the word ‘logistics’. They transfer insights from their Earth experiences to the design process for a space environment: they extrapolate from what they already know. There is no memorisation. There are few right answers.
My child is not good at science and has a low attention span
All of us live successfully under the laws of nature and the laws of the land, including people who were not good at passing exams in science or law. Buying a bottle of water is doing business and making a contract. Knowing that astronauts cannot float on Earth but can float in space is recognition of gravity without knowing the word gravity. Space settlement design simply stretches the thinking that lets a child live successfully on earth, but asks them to think through “what is different?” and “how do we make it happen?” and “what are the problems?” and “how could we fix the problems?” and “do we want it?”
We will supply you with all the information you need to host an Galactic challenge at your school.
The resource package has:
A preparation checklist and facilities and equipment required.
-1 a sample proposal to your school’s principal or Headmaster
-2 a schedule of events sample
-3 introduction to students
-4 room signs
-5 sample name badges
-6 Advertising posters
-7 Sample invitation letters to schools
-8 Scenario for the project
-9 Request For Proposal
-10 Press Release for the project
-11 Company organization Chart
-12 Judging criteria and samples sheets
-13 samples certificates for students
You can use this template poster (.doc) to advertise the competition in your school or club.