When a kid realizes that rockets, satellites and rovers are a direct application of science, science lessons take on a different dimension …
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA has been involved in primary and secondary education for 15 years now through its initiative to implement inspiring class projects such as:
CanSat, where teams build satellite-like devices with the size of a soda can to be rocket-launched1 km high within scientific experiments
Astro Pi, where teams write Python programs to run a scientific experiment on a Raspberry Pi computer with sensors and cameras onboard the International Space Station, which send data back to students.
ESA initiative is relayed in more than 15 countries by European Space Education Resource Offices (ESERO), managed by local partners.
ESERO and La Scientotheque
Since 2021, la Scientothèque coordinates the ESERO program for the French and German-speaking communities of Belgium, in partnership with the Université libre de Bruxelles.
Thanks to its ambitious and motivating framework, La Scientothèque is gradually building a network of STEM-motivated teachers. It is a great pride that Belgium will have a strong presence in the Astro Pi "Space Lab challenge" 2021-2022 with 9 teams selected for phase 2 by ESA in December!
As coordinators of the Belgium programme, La Scientoteque acts mainly through teacher training, regarded as a continuous process of self-monitored professional development. Thus, teachers' support is ensured within a large panel of actions centered around a helpdesk assisting the process of implementing ESA projects and resources in class: peering programs with scientists or PhD students, practice sharing webinars, scientific conferences, on-demand online training sessions, etc.
Through the ESERO initiative, La Scientoteque puts as well a great focus on Climate Detectives within a project which proposes to pupils aged up to 15 years old to investigate a local climatic phenomenon through a scientific procedure of problematization, data research, analysis, proposals.
Esero prograamme and thedexterlab protocols
The ESERO programme further allows the development of new educational protocols in a very similar to TheDexterLab approach. The activities of La Scientothèque related to robotics aim to introduce to young people in the sensor/microcontroller/actuator systems, making it thus possible to simulate the automatic watering of plants on the Moon and the collection of planetary samples. Inspired by the Mars rovers, La Scientothèque is currently working on the design of an affordable AI-powered mobile robot capable to perform image recognition: a great tool for teachers to introduce artificial intelligence in the classroom.