At the beginning of March, students were preparing for travels to Rome, Italy to participate in the RSHM Network Model United Nations (RSHMUN) competition and 1st RSHM Network MakerFaire, and the inaugural RSHM MakerFaire, however an airport strike in Rome prevented travel. As a result, students and teachers showed great flexibility demonstrated by their participation and problem solving in UNESCO's Women in STEM conference and in developing a plan of action to an international scenario regarding the International Space Station crashing into a village. Together, these new events created an exceptional experience for our students!
The girls attended UNESCO's Women in STEM conference. The focus of the discussion panel was on "Contributing to Global Sustainable Development – Women's Engineering: Empowering Rural Women and Girls", and the keynote speaker was Shaesta Waiz. As the first female certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan and the youngest woman, and 8th solo woman, to fly around the world, she was an inspiring speaker with a motivational message for our young women. Following lunch, students were tasked to create a rover for Mars that was rubber-band powered. They were put into mixed school groups and needed to work cooperatively to solve this NASA problem.
During the day the boys group met together to develop a plan of action to an international scenario regarding the International Space Station crashing into a village. The boys were assigned groups based on the MUN country delegation and MakerFaire groups that they were assigned for the Rome conferences. The MakerFaire engineers were tasked to use their conference projects to create a transportation device, such as rover, boat, or robot for rescuing the 2,000 civilians and staff. The MUN students worked with the engineers to develop a budget, timeline, and plan of action that were presented to Sandra Vilevac, who in turn provided feedback from a science and administration perspective. The groups were very well together to share budgets and creating tools for rescuing the people in a timely manner.
All of the students came together at the end of the day for a video conference with Sandra Vilevac, the Instructional Designer & Workforce Development Coordinator at the NASA Space Station in Goddard, Virginia, USA.