UKSDC Finals and UK Team announcement for the ISSDC

Well done to all the participants at the UKSDC finals – your excellent presentations gave the judges a most difficult task. They said that this was the closest marking they had ever known on any UKSDC event.

The following schools (in alphabetical order) took part:

           Chipping Norton School

           City and Islington College

           Eltham College

           Kings Monkton School

           The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School

           The Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls

           Henrietta Barnett School

           Hull Collegiate School

           Kendrick School

Liverpool Blue Coat School

           Malmesbury School

           Oxford International College

           Riddlesdown Collegiate

           Royal Grammar School High Wycombe

           Space Entrepeneur Society

           St George’s School for Girls

           St Mary Redcliffe and Temple

           St Olave’s Grammar School

           Waid Academy

           Wallington High School for Girls

           Westminster School

 

The winning company was Kepler Automation, and the following students have been selected to represent the          UK at the International Space Settlement Design Competition that will take place (this year online) from        Friday 30th July – Monday 2nd August 2021:

                                                                                            Atto Allas

Beatrice Bannister

Adishree Bansal

Bhuvan Belur

Charlie Campbell

Liam Donnelly

Anna Ebell

Charlie Horn

Rozalia Oppenheimer

Drew Padfield

Nathaniel Smith

William Yu

                               The three reserves are :  1st Reserve   Kyle McMillan

                                                                            2nd Reserve Hector Cross

                                                                            3rd Reserve   Louis Walsh

       Watch this space! Last year we were offered a few last minute spaces to even up team sizes; we will allocate these                 to CEO nominations from all finalist companies.

Why does the space competition work?

         

Randall Perry March 30,2018

I am often asked why the Space Design Competition (SDC) format works. Whilst my quick fire response when in the throes of organising an event is often, “It’s all the students’ own work, not ours”; this does belie the research and development that underpins the setting up and running of the events run by the SSEF.

Whether taking place in our competition for younger students, (the Galactic Challenge (GC) has been tailored for 10 -14 year olds), or the hallmark senior competition, the Space Design Competition for those up to the ages 15 – 18, students’ become enthused by the event, and surpass expectations of their teachers and parents. The SDC and GC present participants with a problem that is challenging enough so that they need to apply (metacognitive) strategies to monitor and achieve success, but not so challenging that they become overwhelmed. The provision of mentors that facilitate students to recognise problems and thus achieve solutions is key to SDC and GC methodology. Mentors will encourage planning and monitor the progress throughout the day, but will not give specific answers; rather they will facilitate the students to solve their own questions. In addition to the confidence students acquire from taking part in a competition, they gain soft skills from working in a large team, and self-belief from presenting their completed work, and answering questions from a panel of expert judges. Further development of all these acquired skills beyond the competition is a given.

Many of the underlying principles have been introduced to SDC competitions come from work and research I have completed with Catherine Twomey Fosnot. The following edited excerpt is from the introduction of a chapter we co-wrote in 2005.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 introduction –  Constructivism: A Psychological Theory of Learning by Catherine Twomey Fosnot and Randall Stewart Perry – you can click on the link above to read the chapter in its entirety*

Psychology – the way learning is defined, studied, and understood—underlies much of the curricular and instructional decision-making that occurs in education… Behaviorism is the doctrine that regards psychology as a scientific study of behavior and explains learning as a system of behavioral responses to physical stimuli. Psychologists working within this theory of learning are interested in the effect of reinforcement, practice, and external motivation on a network of associations and learned behaviors. Educators using such a behaviorist framework preplan a curriculum by breaking a content area (usually seen as a finite body of predetermined knowledge) into assumed component parts—“skills”—and then sequencing these parts into a hierarchy ranging from simple to more complex. Assumptions are made that observation, listening to explanations from teachers who communicate clearly, or engaging in experiences, activities, or practice sessions with feedback will result in learning; and, that proficient skills will quantify to produce the whole, or more encompassing concept… Further, learners are viewed as passive, in need of external motivation, and affected by reinforcement; thus, educators spend their time developing a sequenced, well structured curriculum and determining how they will assess, motivate, reinforce, and evaluate the learner. The learner is simply tested to see where he/she falls on the curriculum continuum and then expected to progress in a linear, quantitative fashion as long as clear communication and appropriate motivation, practice, and reinforcement are provided. Progress by learners is assessed by measuring observable outcomes—behaviors on predetermined tasks. The mastery learning model  is a case in point. This model makes the assumption that wholes can be broken into parts, that skills can be broken into sub skills, and that these skills can be sequenced in a “learning line.” Learners are diagnosed in terms of deficiencies, called “needs,” then taught until “mastery”—defined as behavioral competence—is achieved at each of the sequenced levels. Further, it is assumed that if mastery is achieved at each level then the more general concept (defined by the accumulation of the skills) has also been taught. It is important to note the use of the term “skill” here as the outcome of learning and the goal of teaching. The term itself is derived from the notion of behavioral competence. Although few schools today use the mastery learning model rigidly, much of the prevalent traditional educational practice still in place stems from this behaviorist psychology. Behaviorist theory may have implications for changing behavior, but it offers little in the way of explaining cognitive change—a structural change in understanding. Maturationism is a theory that describes conceptual knowledge as dependent on the developmental stage of the learner, which in turn is the result of a natural unfolding of innate biological programming. From this perspective learners are viewed as active meaning-makers, interpreting experience with cognitive structures that are the result of maturation; thus, age norms for these cognitive maturations are important as predictors of behavior… Further, the curriculum is analyzed for its cognitive requirements on learners, and then matched to the learner’s stage of development…
Rather than behaviors or skills as the goal of instruction, cognitive development and deep understanding are the foci; rather than stages being the result of maturation, they are understood as constructions of active learner reorganization. Rather than viewing learning as a linear process, it is understood to be complex and fundamentally non-linear in nature.
Constructivism, as a psychological theory, stems from the burgeoning field of cognitive science, particularly the later work of Jean Piaget just prior to his death in 1980, the socio-historical work of Lev Vygotsky…The remainder of this chapter will present a description of the work of these scientists and then a synthesis will be developed to describe and define constructivism as a psychological theory of evolution and develop.

Continue to read full chapter

*From a book Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives, and Practice. Editor Catherine Twomey Fosnot

 

ISSDC 2017: The Party’s Over

Luke Tattersall, supervisor

What a crazy 48 hours.  The students from the UK and EU teams are now sleep-deprived, hungry and, let’s be honest, a little disappointed.

After two days and the best part of a night preparing their presentations, it was judgement day. The teams lined up at the KSC and presented their versions of a Venusian habitat for 10 000 people to the rest of the students. The four 35-minute presentations were all outstanding and, given that there was UK representation in 3 of the 4 teams we felt that we had a good chance of at least some of us carrying off the trophy. Alas, it was not to be as the presentation from Grumbo, the only company without UK representation, blew the rest out of the water. The science was equally good in all four presentations, but the professionalism of the Grumbo presentation impressed the judging panel enough to sway the final vote.

However, there was one award that a UK competitor did win. Alex Radford (pictured) won the prize for outstanding leadership.

Alex Radford wins the Dick Edwards Award for outstanding leadership of Rockdonnell
Alex Radford wins the Dick Edwards Award for outstanding leadership of Rockdonnell

There was a 5 hour gap between presentation and judging and the students used this time to look around the space centre – for any aspiring aerospace engineer this is Nirvana and the Saturn 5 rocket and the Space Shuttle “Atlantis” moved some of our students to tears – literally. It was a jaw-dropping experience.

The minibus ride home was slightly manic as sleep deprivation and the sight of a large alligator in the creek took its toll, but what an amazing couple of days.

 Time to go home….

ISSDC17: The UK and EU teams immerse themselves in…

Brian Kong, leader of the EU team

Shopping day! Time for Team EU to experience the “mall” culture of the US of A! We thought 6 hours of shopping would be far too long, meant for someone else but not for us. But then we saw the sales, and now we’re all believers! By the end of it there was not a trace of doubt in our minds. We spent all day racing through the mall tackling as many shops as we could. From Citizen watches and Calvin Klein to Toys R Us and Disney! We bought everything… Make up, shoes, food and so much more! The food court was our meeting point and where we had lunch. There was a friendly rivalry between Chinese, Japanese and American cuisine and so there was a divide on what to eat… What’s the use in fighting? All you get is hunger pains, Chinese vs Japanese (I got chicken chow mein). Unfortunately we’ve now run out of money for food… Can we survive off Twinkies and Cheetos for the rest of the trip? I’m a believer.