The first Australian space mission, featuring Australian students

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This Friday (9th December), Cuberider will make history when the experiments of 1,000 students from 60 Australian schools will launch into space on board a Japanese H-IIB rocket from Tanegashima Space Station, on the first Australian space mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Cuberider is the first Australian organisation to win government approval to fly a mission to space, and delivers a revolutionary educational program designed to support STEM learning in secondary schools. The experiments will be run with assistance by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) and data beamed back to earth and provided to schools for analysis.

This project is critically important, because over the next 20 years, almost half of all Australian jobs will be digitally disrupted, and around 75% of the fastest growing occupations require STEM knowledge.

Cuberider’s mission is to excite and inspire young people about STEM and its importance in solving the challenges of the 21st century. Cuberider gives teachers and students the tools to design experiments that are tested in space on the International Space Station (ISS).

The program uses a hands-on learning approach that engages and challenges students and allows them to use imagination, curiosity, critical thinking and problem solving – the skills they will need to solve tomorrow’s problems. And what’s most remarkable about the program is, of course, the space mission.

Solange Cunin, Cuberider’s CEO isn’t exaggerating when she says “We’ve got the ambitions of thousands of teenagers riding on our inaugural space mission”.

Cuberider is a fresh approach to teaching STEM in the classroom. When a school joins the program they are sent a Cuberider pack that includes the enabling hardware components – a Raspberry Pi, a space sensor board and a USB – for students to learn how to code their own space experiments. The two-term program complements the national curriculum and is designed for Stage 5 teaching. Teachers are supported with an easy to use online learning platform that includes activities and ideas to inspire critical thinking and problem solving.

Solange and Sebastian Chaoui, the founders of Cuberider, are passionate about space, science and technology and share a desire to inspire young people to discover and embrace STEM through a unique opportunity to be involved in space mission. They created Cuberider to help students learn practical skills such as coding, data analysis and critical thinking – the skills they will need to succeed in the future. The Cuberider mission pack consists of a satellite hardware kit to develop experiments and an eight module step-by-step online learning program. The program is designed to complement and teach the national curriculum. Cuberider challenges students to use their imagination, creativity and curiosity to design and code space experiments that teach them about the world they live in and the core concepts of STEM. In the process they learn how to solve problems, think creatively, share knowledge and work collaboratively – all skills they will need for the workplace of the future. Students who have successfully completed a space mission and are keen to learn more can sign up for the alumni program to be matched with a mentor, create connections, and access work experience and internship opportunities.

We’re pretty excited about this project too – Cuberider is part of the Microsoft BizSpark startup scheme and uses the Microsoft Azure cloud to deliver the programme. And I’m really looking forward to watching the rocket blast off on Friday afternoon. How would you like to have your students’ experiments taking off on the next mission?


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