RAK students write code for robot on International Space Station

School runs NASA-inspired space education programme to generate interest in STEM subjects



by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 3:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 10:47 PM

A UAE school has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region, enabling students to learn about coding and space exploration by directly interacting with the International Space Station (ISS).

Under a collaboration between The Wellspring School (a LifePlus International School) in Ras Al Khaimah, and Quest4Excellence, a Silicon Valley education company working closely with NASA, pupils at the school had the unique opportunity to write code for BIMO, a robot on the ISS, and upload their programs directly to the space station. The uploaded code enabled the robot on the ISS to display the student’s pictures and messages.

The initiative - part of the institution’s commitment to bring innovation and creativity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to its students - took place during a space education training programme known as ISS Quester workshops hosted in the school by the American company.

Martin Klopper, LifePlus CEO, said: “This initiative aligns 100 per cent with the strategic priorities of the education sector as the nation seeks to position itself as a major global player in space exploration. It also embodies the constant desire of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, to improve the quality of education in Ras Al Khaimah and to provide opportunities for creativity and innovation in the delivery of teaching STEM subjects to students.”

He added that the effort aims to give students a hands-on, project-based learning experience that will deepen their knowledge of projects and group working, computer coding, basic engineering skills, project planning and execution against real-world conditions.

From the next academic year, the school plans to offer more of the ISS Quester workshops as the first step in STEM programme development. Students from grades four to 12 will get the opportunity to join the ISS Inspiration Station (Level 1) as an after-school activity. Middle and high school students will also get to join the ISS Space Program Apprentice (Level 2) as a STEM elective within their weekly schedules.

Jeff Kingma, the WellSpring Head of School, said: “The opportunity to partner with an esteemed education company from the US will open new educational doors in the UAE and will greatly benefit our students”.

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