SpaceTime's Mission -
Engage Minds, Focus on Fun!
as Captain Picard of the Next Generation Enterprise would put it, is to
ENGAGE!And by "engage" we mean to get kindergarten through 6th grade kids engaged in science and learning. Though it is certainly a high priority of ours to educate as well, our primary goal is to get kids engaged in and enthused about learning science through hands-on, minds-on educational activities, exercises and demonstrations. And our primary tool for making this happen is our trademark focus on fun methodology, which is built into every one of our programs.
Focus on Fun
Simply put, SpaceTime's focus on fun methodology is a method of making sure that every program component is fun for the specific age range of children being presented to. It, along with our "Five-E's" learning strategy, is built into the design of every activity, exercise and demonstration in our programs and is an integral component of the extensive training regimen that all of our instructors go through before getting in front of their first class.
The reasons we employ this methodology are twofold:
- First - Countless educational studies, as well as our own years of experience, have shown that, once a child's attention has strayed from what is being presented, refocusing his or her attention back on the presented material is often an insurmountable task for the remainder of the presentation or class. With children in the kindergarten through 6th grade range we have found that simply making every element of the activity, exercise or demonstration fun keeps them engaged and attentive.
- Second - Presenting science as a fun activity to a child in this age range has been proven to establish a long lasting science "comfort level" within the child. Once this level of comfort is achieved the child becomes much less resistant to new learning whether that learning is in the field of science or other disciplines.
Why Space Science?
Though our mission is to get kids engaged in science in general, we make it happen through space science-based programs. These programs cover all facets of space science including astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, space exploration science, exobiology, planetary science and stellar science but also include most areas of physical science as well (the Earth is, after all, in space).
The reasons we utilized this space science-based approach are, once again, twofold:
- First - Surveys of children in kindergarten through 6th grade taken in the late 1990s and early 2000s showed consistently that their favorite two areas of science enthusiasm were outer space and dinosaurs. In the effort to get children engaged in learning science we feel it makes sense to emphasize an area of science in which they are already likely to have an interest (nothing against dinosaurs but...see reason two).
- Second - We're space nuts! Ed Ludka, the founder and co-owner of SpaceTime, is a long time space science and exploration enthusiast and advocate. His passion for space science combined with that of the rest of the SpaceTime staff are what make our mission a true labor of love. It’s a mission built on the audacity to dream…
Why Science in General?
For most of the twentieth century the United States has led the world in the area of K-6th grade science proficiency. However, for the last twenty years America has been losing ground in science education. An analysis of the recent Trends in Mathematics and Science Study showed that, between 1995 and 2005, U.S. fourth graders' scores in science dropped six points and their ranking among 15 nations dropped from second to sixth. At the high school level the U.S. now ranks 20th behind Iceland and the Slovak Republic in terms of science proficiency.
It is SpaceTime's belief that science is the language of nature. Without it we cannot communicate with the world around us. It helps us develop the critical thinking skills necessary to sort through all the information we encounter in daily life and make intelligent decisions about how to value our world and the universe that it inhabits.
It is possible to live and enjoy life without a science education... just as it is possible to live in a land whose language you do not speak or understand.
Background Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech