The Your Place in Space Challenge encourages interested teams to design new solutions for space. This resource hub includes curated educational resources related to space, as well as product design guides and additional project resources. All links and resources are provided for informational purposes only.
The Your Place in Space Challenge team hosted a virtual information session to provide an overview of the challenge and answer questions. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and NASA discussed how the challenge will help build a robust space industry workforce while supporting the Department’s work to prepare high school students for rewarding careers and increase access to career and technical education.
To learn about participating in the challenge, watch the recording of the information session that was held on May 10, 2023. Also read additional highlights from the session.
As you organize your team, consider:
- Which teachers and students will contribute to submission design?
- What are the roles that different team members will play?
- Where, when, and how will team members collaborate with one another?
- How will you track progress and milestones during submission design?
- What can you do to ensure a positive team dynamic and help team members connect with each other?
When your team is organized, fill out this project planning template, which will help your team think critically about the activities needed to complete your submission. Brainstorm and list out the major activities you expect to complete, the estimated time needed, and which team members can lead each activity.
Please have your school’s principal or district-level administrator sign off on the submission by sending an email to the team lead stating permission to participate. You can forward this sample email template to your principal or district-level administrator. Note that if your school is collaborating with other schools on the submission, each participating school on a team must be listed on the permission statement.
The space industry
Explore space-related topics to determine an area of focus for your design. Consider how you might incorporate the challenge into your classroom.
- It’s not only rocket scientists and astronauts: Successful space missions rely on the work of hundreds of thousands of people across a wide range of disciplines. Read this article on space careers to learn how different career pathways connect to space. Check out this Space Career Resource Guide to see specific examples of people currently working in the space industry.
- Interested in deep-space missions? Use the Artemis I STEM Learning Pathway modules or learn how the James Webb Space Telescope works to gain a better understanding of current space exploration efforts.
- The many satellites that orbit our planet shape daily life on Earth by providing navigation data, weather monitoring, communications signals, and more. Check out this infographic describing how satellites work and how they are used. Then, watch this video about space debris to learn about how launching too many satellites may put these critical operations at risk.
- Learn about cutting-edge inventions in the final frontier, such as generating solar power in space, 3D printing human tissue samples, and growing plants in microgravity.
Prior to the close of open submissions, MaxIQ Space hosted four webinars for students and teachers to discuss the space industry and answer questions about product and service development for space. You can watch the recorded webinars on the News page.
Check out a discussion led by astronaut Megan McArthur that explores the many exciting career pathways leading to the space industry.
Great design starts by addressing an unmet need. Once you’ve narrowed in on a specific space-related topic, it’s time to brainstorm ideas for advancing activities in that area. To encourage team collaboration, read about how your classroom can become a design studio.
Not sure how to start brainstorming? Check out this article on the “designing for humans” process, which outlines a design approach for students. Focus on the first four stages:
- Discover. Within the selected topic area, what problems exist? How do these problems affect space missions and space exploration — and who is affected?
- Empathize. Consider the people affected by the problem(s) identified. What is their experience?
- Brainstorm. What are 20 different ideas that would address the problem(s) you identified? No idea is too zany or far-fetched!
- Ideate. Of the ideas suggested, which will be the focus of this project? Consider the purpose of the challenge, the challenge criteria, the skills and expertise of team members, and which ideas hold the most opportunities for learning.
For more ideas on how to structure the concept design process, this workbook from the Stanford d.school poses questions to orient your path forward.
Once you have identified a design to focus on, consider:
- How would the product or service work? What features would it have? What would it look like?
- What materials or resources would be required to implement the design?
- Are there any anticipated barriers or challenges to the design’s success? How might your team overcome these barriers?
Keep the submission form in mind as you develop your idea. To give yourself ample material for your short video, consider capturing photos or short clips of classroom sessions, group brainstorms, or other activities. Consult this video tip sheet for additional ideas, as well as specifications for how it should be formatted.
Planning and community engagement
Develop your design and consider what it would take to bring your product or service to life. Start by imagining what an early prototype or pilot of your design might look like. Reflect on the key activities that would be necessary to work towards that vision. Consider the following:
- What skills would your team expect to learn from the process of prototyping or piloting your design?
- How might these skills translate into a career in the space industry?
Draw on the wisdom of the crowd: Read this article on how schools can promote community engagement, and consider:
- What additional information or expertise would benefit your team?
- Who in your community has expert knowledge that could strengthen your design? These partners could be local businesses, academic institutions, or community-based nonprofits.
- How might you engage with these community partners and convince them to support your project?
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This website also contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations, which are provided for the reader’s convenience. ED and Luminary Labs are not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.