461 girls take giant leap towards a STEM career at NASA Space School

Article by Teva Smith
Alliance of Girls' Schools / 09 December 2018

CASE Space School at NASA will be providing 168 girls from New Zealand with an unforgettable STEM experience for the first time as 461 students from 53 girls’ schools across Australia and New Zealand head off on the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia trip on 8 and 9 December, in partnership with Actura.

Dubbed ‘youth astronaut training’ the two-week hands-on program promotes dynamic teamwork skills as the girls work together on simulated missions to repair the international space station, design a Mars habitat, experience limited gravity training, learn forensics, discover NASA technologies and explore personal growth skills.

Heather McRae, Principal of Diocesan School for Girls said it was an exceptional opportunity for students to see STEM techniques in an advanced and inspirational environment.

‘The girls will experience first-hand how science, technology, engineering and maths can be applied in a creative and exciting professional setting, an ideal way to inspire them into STEM careers,’ said Heather.

‘As educators we are thrilled that our students will have this unique chance to acquire new skills to equip them for the rapidly changing workplace and other challenges of the future.’

‘I am a passionate scientist myself with outer space offering amazing opportunities for exploration and potential habitation, this kind of trip encourages real future thinking,’ she said.

Year 10 Diocesan student Rosie Boisen said she knew the trip wasn’t an opportunity she could pass up.

‘The mix of space exploration, rockets with other topics that I love such as forensic science and marine biology will be absolutely incredible.

‘I have always been very interested in STEM subjects especially in the last couple of years as these subjects have been extended during my time at Diocesan.’

‘As a fifteen-year-old there are so many amazing career pathways I’d love to take in so many different areas, however, I feel as though this trip will really help me learn more about the incredible career opportunities within STEM, and I can’t wait to talk to and hear from women in the USA who have gone into these areas and made such successful careers for themselves.’

The trip is split into a Junior Space School, for students from Years 7-9 (8-10 in New Zealand) and Senior Space School for students from Years 10-12 (11-13 in New Zealand). 

Some of the trip highlights:

Junior Space School

  • Tour the Johnson Space Centre – NASA’s leading facility
  • Mission training – limited gravity trainer
  • Teamwork to solve simulated missions
    • Landing a rover on Mars
    • Construct and launch a rocket
  • CSI style forensics course
  • Space suits, living in space and the shuttle program
  • Meet a NASA astronaut

Senior Space School

  • Visit the Space Lab
  • Formulate budgets for their own space mission
  • Learn about NASA robotics and Robonaut technology
  • VIP tour of the Space Centre in Houston
  • Teamwork to solve simulated missions
    • Design a Mars rover including landing parachutes and thermal heat shields
    • Design a Mars habitat