Educators professional development programme

22 September 2013

The 2013 Educators Professional Development Workshop, organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the Victoria Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC), will take place on 22 September 2013 in Beijing, China, before the 64th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) on 23-27 September 2013.

The aim of this event is to establish a global interest and capacity in space science, engineering and technology. That is why this initiative focuses on educators, who have the potential to positively influence the next space generation by joining the rank of the global cohort of “space educator”. Through the delivery of technical session on a wide range of topics, educators have a unique opportunity to experience the space programme and learn about variety of space contexts, issues and innovations, while interacting with some of its brightest contributors.

The one day programme offers to educators the possibility to be introduced to the latest pedagogical research and effective instructional strategies, and to the fundamentals of the space environment through keynote sessions.


  • 8:30-9:00 Registration
  • 9:00-9:15 Introduction/Icebreaker
  • 9:15-10:30 Keynote Speaker– Using engaging and effective instructional strategies in a Space Science classroom.
    Speaker: Ms Anne Tweed, former president, National Science Teachers Association, USA; Principal Consultant, Mid Continental Research for Educational Learning and author of “Designing Effective Science Instruction”
  • 10:30-10:45 Morning Break
  • 10:45-12:15 Workshop 1a (Primary) Can liquid water exist on Mars?
    NASA’s Mars Odyssey Space Craft found evidence of water ice on Mars. Participants through observation of mysterious substances inside balloons will allow then to identify their preconceptions about the particle nature of matter. The compression of substances and dissolving of substances in hot and cold water will enable participants to investigate the differences between solids, liquids and gases. These investigations better understanding of the states of matter and their existence under different conditions which will enable them to answer the question whether liquid water can exist on Mars.
  • 10:45-12:15 Workshop 1b (Primary) Starsearch!
    One of ESA’s most ambitious projects is to compile the most precise map of the stars in our Galaxy. Missions like, Hipparcos and Gaia have given scientists invaluable data.
    Star search is an educational game designed by VSSEC to enable players to classify stars. Players select a spaceship, plan a journey, and fly to distant stars where they collect interesting ‘star’ data. The program encourages players to think and work scientifically. During this workshop, participants will use the data collected to create an interactive Hertzsprung-Russell diagram using a graphic organiser and foldables.
  • 12:15–13:00 Lunch Break
  • 13:00–14:30 Workshop 2a (Primary) Radiation in Space
    The primary source of energy on Earth is our closest star – the Sun.
    The Sun emits energy across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Light and heat are just two forms of this energy. Depending on its place in the electromagnetic spectrum, this energy is also called ‘light’ or ‘radiation’ or ‘waves’.
    As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the electromagnetic waves, the more dangerous they are to biological systems. The Earth’s thick atmosphere and global magnetic field protects us from most dangerous radiation. There is no such protection from dangerous solar radiation in space.
    During this workshop, participants will design an experiment to test how effectively different materials will block solar radiation.
    13:00–14:30 Workshop 2b(Primary) Remote Sensing and Salinity of Oceans
    Potato Float. NASA’s Aquarius mission is a focused effort to measure Sea Surface Salinity and will provide the global view of salinity variability needed for climate studies. Seawater contains many dissolved substances and these add mass to the water producing a greater mass per unit volume, or density, than that of pure water. The relationship between the density of a fluid, weight of an object, and buoyancy is critical in understanding the ocean, because density has a direct influence on the way seawater and objects in seawater behave.
    After completing this workshop participants will have a greater understanding of the following concepts
  • An object can both sink and float depending on its relative density to the surrounding fluid.
  • There are two main factors that make ocean water more or less dense: the temperature and salinity.
  • Less dense water floats on top of more dense water.
  • Generate hypotheses and make predictions.
    14:30–14:45 Afternoon Break
    14:45–15:45 Keynote Speaker- Taikonaut
    15:45-16:00 Sense-making/Wrap up

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