ACADEMIA COTOPAXI SCHOOL
During the 2012-2013 school year, a fourth grade classroom at Academia Cotopaxi’s International American school in Quito, Ecuador, led by Margot Solberg,undertook the challenge of embedding satellite education into the regular curriculum for the purpose of enhancing mathematical achievement and attitudes with students.
Satellite resources were attained through both the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-
. Through EXA, students downloaded real-time satellite images in order to provide hands-on learning experiences, attained through the utilization of WXtoImg software and in conjunction with National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) satellites, which naturally lent themselves to authentic learning opportunities.
HERMES- Delta: Second graders working with live satellite images in the classroom
The program was based on the HERMES-Delta operation mode of Ecuador’s HERMES-A/MINOTAUR ground station, built by EXA, which acts as a link between the Internet and the Earth’s orbit.
This opportunity allowed for students to interact with satellite images in such a way that mathematics became immediately relevant and purposeful in their lives.
Through genuine educational experiences, the students interacted with satellite software, computers and an interactive SMART board. Targeted mathematics activities carried out by the students included the use of manipulatives, weather observation, inquiry-based lessons, data collection and analysis for the purposeful learning experiences. Additionally, both the US and Ecuadorian educational communities took notice of this innovative application for the elementary classroom – especially in light of the fact that Ecuador launched its first satellite, PEGASUS, in April of 2013 – and this interest also resulted in the creation of EXA’s international and collaborative pilot program titled ASTERIA.
As a conclusion, the five main themes that emerged from the data revealed the following:
students displayed a high rate of self-efficacy in math;
a correlation existed between parent support of satellite education and students’ attitudes towards math;
students were motivated and engaged;
both students and parents viewed math and satellite education as being meaningful;
and positive academic achievement in math was evident
Pegasus - digital storytelling
Constructing Pegasus (paper version) - April 2011
Pegasus video chat - May 3 2011
A Special Service student’s journal entry regarding his perceptions about math and satellite education.
High rates of self-efficacy in math were evident in the data found in the student surveys, journals and interviews.