The Science of Satellites

2019, Ontario Science Centre, Program/Event, Youth
demo, education, Ontario Science Centre, Satellites, science, technology, Toronto
About This Project

Date: March Break – Summer 2019

Partner: Ontario Science Centre

Location: Hot Zone

Project Members: Keelan Cashmore, Shauna Edgar, Samantha Kilpatrick, and Beth Lymer
Through The Science of Satellites, we aim to communicate the science and technology of satellites and their importance to the public. This presentation involves several interactive demonstrations, current news narratives, and a slideshow. People rely on satellites every day but may not consider how they function or how the technology is changing. The goal of our presentation is for audience members to leave the OSC with a new appreciation for concepts in orbital physics, the uses of satellites, and what the future science of satellites may be.
Elements of the presentation were written to allow flexibility for OSC Hosts to adjust shows based on audience type. This can be done through different narrative and demo choices and specific slide selections. OSC visitors primarily consist of small children and their families as well as school groups. Learning opportunities are available for each group through different sub-topics, news stories, and demos.
These presentations will take place in the OSC’s Hot Zone, an intersecting space between several exhibitions. This space features high visitor traffic where visitors can view demos and learn about current events on a stage and projecting screen. It is a perfect space to attract audience members and engage visitors with science content.
The OSC proposed this project in September 2018, with production meetings occurring mostly in January and February 2019 once the topic was finalized. The Science of Satellites launched during March Break 2019 and will continue until the fall of 2019. The OSC is the sole financial contributor in addition to being the chief collaborator in content creation and support in logistical realization of the project. Staff at the OSC, particularly Sabrina Greupner, were excellent mentors and colleagues who provided invaluable guidance with which we will take into our future careers.
Multiple show are scheduled per day and marketing is done by the OSC along with the rest of its Summer of Space programming.
The creation of a demonstration rather than a new physical exhibition space allows audience members direct, interactive engagement with the subject material and allows for flexibility in content and narratives. For example, current news stories within the presentation can be updated easily through time. By having an OSC Host present the content, audience members can relate the scientific concepts they learn to a person who is not unlike themselves. A Hot Zone demonstration is a highly accessible way to teach STEM concepts to the public.
Based on feedback from Hosts and visitors so far, this project is successfully communicating its intended message. Through demos we have shown rocket propulsion and how satellites are launched, among other related physics concepts. Our narratives include current news stories such as David Saint-Jacques work on the International Space Station. One family told a Host after the presentation that they learned more about satellites that day than during a recent trip to the Kennedy Space Centre. Additionally, young children excitedly answered questions during our observation of the presentation amidst a large audience that had gathered.
We take this opportunity to thank the OSC staff for their exceptional support and guidance.
Additionally, we thank Kepler for sharing a life size model CubeSat for visitors to see in person, our professors, teaching assistants, and mentors for all their support.