Over the last few weeks, our grade 5 and 6 middle schoolers have been part of a presentation from a researcher, Olivier, at the European Space Agency (or ESA). Since many of our families have a working link to ESA, we feel a wider community connection to this organization and are grateful for any chance we have to hear from someone at ESA. Ms. Rhodes, our middle school Art teacher heard about an interesting art competition ESA has launched and arranged for Olivier to present to the students. She thought it would be the perfect opportunity for our grade 5 and 6 students to combine their strengths and interests for space and artistic creativity.
Olivier spoke to our ASH learners about ESA’s new mission to Jupiter - the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer, or JUICE, that will be launching in 2022. They want to decorate the huge Ariane 5 rocket that will be launching the spacecraft to Jupiter, which will take around eight years to reach the planet! So ESA has created the Juice Up Your Rocket! Art competition, where kids up to 12 years old can submit an illustration and if it is chosen as the winner will be put on this rocket. How cool is that!
Over a session each with the grade 5 and 6 students respectively, Olivier explained the purpose of the mission, answered our learners’ many questions about space and gave them some helpful tips about entering the competition. We asked Ms. Rhodes how many students have taken an interest in participating in the competition following these talks with Olivier, and she told us how there are “so many students who are passionate about space exploration and combining this interest with a love of art and design is a thoughtful challenge. Some students are coming to work during lunch and others are working at home.” She also noted that this competition is open to the elementary school as well (so parents, if you think your child/ren might be interested in participating in this art competition, click here).
With our focus on strengths-based learning this month, we also wanted to know what strengths from the students’ learning, Ms. Rhodes is hoping they utilize in their entries for this competition. She offered that, “this project is great for students to understand how designers work. Designers are often commissioned to work from a theme, organize their time to meet a deadline, plan their ideas to meet the goals of the project, ask the client questions and connect to other subject areas.” Ms. Rhodes added that, of course, having an ASH student’s work end up on a rocket would be incredibly cool, but equally cool was having Olivier speak with the students - it was a real added learning bonus. And it seems that the feeling was mutual! “Olivier enjoyed his experience with our students so much that he offered to speak with them in person about ESA's projects when we return to a normal school schedule.”
Our wider community connections here at ASH allow us to continually offer strengths-based learning opportunities such as these. We love being able to share these moments and to see this learning in action!