CanSat/Rocketry Program (Space engineering in elementary education)
CanSat/Rocketry Program is for ERASMUS+ within the framework of the KA201 (Strategic partnership) projects for schools and general education. We focus this topic to fundamental education subjects and regular curricular process, no to extracurricular activities.
About CanSat/Rocketry (in general):
CanSat is a small analog Satellite. All components are housed inside a can up to 350 ml. CanSat provides an affordable way to gain basic knowledge and skills in Space engineering for teachers and students, as well as experience engineering challenges when designing Satellites. Students are able to design and build a small electronic payload that can fit into the cans to 350 ml. CanSat is launched by Rocket, Balloon, Plane or Drone and delivered in apogee. With the Parachute, the CanSat slowly descends to the ground and carries out its mission during descent (for example: measures air pressure and temperature and sends telemetry). By analyzing the data collected by CanSat, students will explore the reasons for the success or failure of its mission.
Space engineering learning, based on the CanSat/Rocketry concept, enables students to gain hands-on experience through a specific interdisciplinary project. Since this is a Space engineering project, teachers and students will gain experience from mission defining, conceptual design, through integration and testing, to launching and actual system operation, ie., experience from the whole Space project cycle and then participate in the CanSat/Rocketry competition with its peers at home country and abroad. One of the main advantages of the CanSat/Rocketry concept is its interdisciplinarity: combination of mathematics, physics, informatics/programming, mechatronics, telecommunications, aviation and rocketry, mechanics, etc.. CanSat is a simulation of a real, large, Satellite and contains all the components as a real Satellite, but with limited complexity.
Rocketry part consists of designing of two types of Rockets. Rockets for solid engine and Water Rockets. In this part teachers have opportunity to transfer to students theoretical knowledge from eg physics to practical work, ie Rocket design. Water Rockets in particular are a great tool for this process.
Some countries have such a program in schools, but as extracurricular activities, there are also competitions, but all this highlighted the problems because the number of students is limited, the motivation of both teachers and students is different rather that this is an integral part of regular curricular process, there are also time constraints due to formal school activities, and there are often financial problems too.
All of this indicates that such a program is required to be an integral part of regular curricular process through fundamental subjects, as a practical part, and automatically a larger number of students will participate, and learning will be more understandable and raised to a higher level. The student's motivation is much higher on this topic because it requires a broader reflection/thinking, that is, it allows each student to individually find what he/she is interested in because of interdisciplinarity of this field.
Benefits of CanSat/Rocketry Based Education:
CanSat/Rocketry is an effective educational tool for:
Involving students in technology and engineering as a practical complement to other, fundamental, subjects they study, such as mathematics and physics;
Emphasizing teamwork where each student has a specific task/role that creates a sense of responsibility for him/her;
Students gain experience of the complete process: defining the mission, design, development/constructing, programming, testing, launching and analysis;
Simple conducting experiments with balloon/rocket/plane/drone;
Learning methods can be adapted to the age level of students, or to their needs and abilities;
Students are able to analyze the reasons for success or failure after descending CanSat and Rocket to the ground;
Acquired knowledge and experience can be applied to other projects as this concept enables obtaining of ideas and stimulates students' thinking;
Useful for a further education/career guidance process;
We invite Elementary schools in partnership.
Some of the activities during project realization are:
Creating training manuals;
Standardization of learning kits;
Training of teachers;
Supervising teachers in student training;
Organizing competitions as a form of knowledge assessment and evaluation of CanSat/Rocketry program for eventual improvement;
Assistance with school curriculum writing, etc.
These activities are an integral part of the project and do not all relate to Elementary schools work. These activities are shared among all partners and everything is defined in project documentation.