September 21, 2009

Europe-Wide Education Event With Astronaut Frank De Winne

A Europe-wide education event today links ESA astronaut Frank De Winne on the International Space Station with hundreds of schoolchildren in several European cities. In a live link-up with the ISS, De Winne will perform a simple experiment in space to demonstrate the effects of freefall.

The event is enabled by ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight and its Erasmus Center and is co-hosted by four European science museums. The 'Take your classroom into space' event is one of several education activities planned during De Winne's ongoing six-month OasISS mission on the International Space Station (ISS).


De Winne will perform the curriculum-relevant demonstration inside the European Columbus laboratory using a standalone education kit. The experiment was selected from ideas proposed by European educators in response to a call for experiments that can be carried out on the ISS to demonstrate the effects of freefall.

Using the 'Take your classroom into space' Education Kit, which contains all the elements needed to perform the same demonstrations on the ground, secondary school students (14 to 18 years old) will compare their results with those obtained by De Winne in space, helping them to learn about the conditions of freefall.

During the live link-up with the Station, De Winne will also answer questions from the students.

Four European venues

The event is co-hosted by four European science museums and centers located close to the home cities of the five teachers who proposed the winning 'Take your classroom into space' ideas. These venues are amongst the best-known and most active museums and science centers in Europe. With thousands of visitors every year, they offer innovative didactical exhibits for teachers and schools.

The locations and venues of the 'Take your classroom into space' event are:

* CosmoCaixa, Barcelona, Spain

* NOESIS, Thessaloniki, Greece

* Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, Milan, Italy

* Technopolis®, Mechelen, Belgium

Each venue hosts some 200 secondary school students, their teachers and local authority representatives. The four sites will be interconnected for the duration of a three-hour program that features videos, hands-on activities, a space-show, a lecture from a space expert, a game and the live call with De Winne.

Schools not able to attend the event at one of the venues can still perform the 'Take your classroom into space' activity remotely using the 'Take your classroom into space' education kit.

The call with De Winne will also be shown live on NASA TV between 13:30 and 13:50 CEST and will be made available on the ESA website after the event.


Image Caption: ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 20 flight engineer, works at the Clean Bench Facility in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Credits: NASA


On the Net: