One of my missions as an educator is to provide students with authentic learning opportunities in which they are researching and solving real world challenges independently. Additionally, I believe in the power of community to advance innovation, reverse inequities in our education system, and cultivate the next generation of innovative world-changers. I encourage my students to participate in ongoing research (i.e., citizen-science), design novel research, and contribute articles in a STEM-based magazine. Therefore, it was very exciting to bring together my role as a BCIL Curriculum Innovator and Collaborator and as a PoSSUM13 ambassador and STEM coordinator to host the International Microgravity Challenge Research Showcase last month.
This event was co-sponsored by the BCIL and PoSSUM13, and attended by STEM enthusiasts worldwide eager to learn new technological achievements in Space Exploration and Medicine. PoSSUM13 is a team of thirteen female scientist-astronaut candidates whose backgrounds range from military pilots, engineers, scientists, and medical doctors who serve as global ambassadors in providing more opportunities and representation for students who have a great interest in space science and exploration. Student teams from around the world submitted proposals for an experimental design that addressed the following questions:
- What science question do you want to answer?
- Why is this science problem significant for space exploration or life here on Earth?
- Why must it be done in microgravity?
Team Columbia Magnetic Force won the 2019 Microgravity Challenge after presenting their microgravity experiment testing whether the Lorentz Force stabilizes a device’s position in the presence of microgravity. The 2020 microgravity challenge flight is postponed to May 2021, but here are few experiments ready for flight: Team Cymatics’s research focused on the impact of an external force’s vibrations on another nearby system, an essential factor to be considered in the development of buildings and experiments in space. Team Eurus seeks to measure lung capacity under various gravity conditions. This study will contribute to the field of space medicine and help ensure future astronauts’ safety.
Students interested in learning more about citizen-science work, designing novel research, writing in a STEM-based magazine MIND, and the microgravity challenge should connect with Dr. Gonzalez (aka Dr. G) at email@example.com.