Astronauts, planets and the International Space Station are just some of the topics students of all grades are probing. Space exploration and innovation is skyrocketing at Branksome as some students met with a NASA robotics flight controller, while others coded a message to send into space.
We welcomed Laura Lucier, a NASA Robotics Flight Controller, who spoke to our Junior and Senior School students. They were in awe hearing accomplished Canadian, Ms Lucier, talk about her work at Mission Control in Houston, Texas. Ms Lucier shared interesting photos of astronauts training underwater and on airplanes. The students were fascinated by pictures of how astronauts eat, wash their hair and even cry in space.
Curiosity was top of the agenda as our students asked her endless questions, including “how do astronauts sleep?” and “how do they feel when they land back on Earth?” Ms Lucier turned the tables and asked the students space trivia, stumping some of them with questions like “why don’t astronauts eat bread in space?” The Junior School students gasped at her answer that bread makes too many crumbs that float around, and that all sandwiches are made with tortillas.
As part of Ms Lucier’s role, she leads teams responsible for planning and executing tasks onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Our Grade 7, 8 and 10 Computer Engineering students are very familiar with the ISS. They’re involved in a project to send code to astronauts on the ISS as part of the Astro Pi Challenge “Mission Zero” and have been brainstorming their far-reaching ideas with Donn Pasiliao, our Technology Experience Designer and Coordinator.
Our Grade 10 girls hosted a coding workshop, showing Grade 7 and 8 students how to create a message that included a greeting and temperature reading for astronauts in space.
“I think this is really interesting because I never saw myself as a coder and putting stuff in space,” said Alexa, a Grade 10 student and participant.
Thanks to Computer Engineering teacher Gail Schwiersch, who has introduced the Astro Pi Challenge to our students and inspired them to reach for the stars. Further thanks to the Dey family in the Junior School, for bringing Ms Lucier to the school.