Space has always been a fascinating subject for humankind. Starting with the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the world's first artificial satellite, humanity started to carve its way toward space exploration rapidly. Now, with the latest technological improvements, we are able to talk about space tourism and trips to outer space. In 2020, the global space economy generated $447 billion which is sizeable compared to the social media market of $160 billion.
Then, how can space exploration be introduced to kids? Here are some interesting examples:
Human Exploration Rover Challenge, organized by NASA, is a race with human-powered rovers, which are designed to traverse challenging terrain and complete various mission tasks. Rover Challenge is not just a simple race; it is an experiential design challenge, where high school students can show their skills and creativity in modeling and building rovers. It is a great practice to improve STEM-related skills as well. This is a great opportunity for youth to learn about space exploration programs and cost-effective research, which is highly appreciated in the field.
LEGO League Into Orbit Challenge, which results from a collaboration between NASA and LEGO, is a fun way to tackle special space missions by designing robots using LEGO Mindstorm and Spike Prime technology. Children model, design, and build their own robots to overcome some specific space challenges by working in teams. They utilize coding skills to control their own-designed robots. Thus, they have a chance to improve their STEM skills in an enjoyable and unforgettable way.
Students can problem-solve new missions in our FLL Competitor program in Kolektif House Maslak.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games among kids and teens and it allows you to build a universe according to your preferences by using your creative skills and imagination. It also has an educational mode named Minecraft: Education Edition which is designed for providing a more engaging learning environment for kids in a game-based platform with lots of options, additions, and extensions.
One example of these additions is its integration with Python. By using code editors such as Python IDLE, PyCharm, or VsCode, it is possible to write Python scripts for Minecraft. Kids can enter their codes on the editor panel and see the direct result of their action as the visualized way they have made on the game in another panel. In this way, kids can design spacecraft in Minecraft, build their own space stations, or even travel intergalactically, while learning how to code with Python.
Lens Studio by Snapchat allows users to create 2D filters and 3D lenses for Snapchat. Since kids and teens love to use Snapchat, it is a great way to introduce them to space exploration and astronomy. The 3D modeling structure of Lens Studio is highly useful for imagining solar systems and space environments for kids. By modeling space, planets, and satellites in a 3D form, they can comprehend the concepts of space atmosphere.
Children can use the lenses they created on their phone cameras, and share them with their friends. They also have a chance to use AR technology by designing their lenses by applying their creative skills. Check out our Lense Studio courses at HUB21 for a free try-out.
With the help of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, students can experience space journeys as if they are in space. This is an invaluable experience for students since they can comprehend what space is like by living in space itself virtually. They try to complete specific tasks while learning details about life in space and having fun. This is definitely one of the best and most fun ways to stimulate the interest of kids in space.
With the Oculus Headset, it is possible to make a VR tour of the International Space Station (ISS) guided by an astronaut. You can discover 40 key areas of the station and gain an inside view of how it feels to live in a space station orbiting Earth.
TinkerCad is an easy-to-use 3D design tool, which kids can learn to model their own designs. Students have a chance to create space shuttles, rovers, or satellites and then print them in 3D format. They can incorporate electronic components and code to control their robots. TinkerCad is a great educational tool, which students can enjoy while learning by doing. The main advantage of it is the sweet and friendly user interface designed for kids and easy-to-learn content.
Students can design their own space models in our Tinkercad courses at HUB21.