Frequently asked questions - Space Brain Hack
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About the Space Brain Hack
Is this an annual initiative? Will my class be able to participate again next year?
The Space Brain Hack contest will take place every school year, from October to February.
Will the topic be the same for next year?
The topic will change every year. Young people will be given open-ended questions on issues related to the Lunar Gateway and key space exploration themes that the CSA and partners are actively working on.
How long does it take to hold the activity?
Educators can hold the activity as they see fit. The Educator guide on the Space Brain Hack webpage provides a few examples of how to carry out the activity with your students over varying periods of time.
According to the Educator guide, the activity can be carried out in 2.5 hours. Would this be a minimum or an average period of time?
We recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours to carry out the activity (over varying periods of time or continuously). This gives you enough time to introduce the topic and the activity, and students enough time to think about and develop their idea and fill out the worksheet. Other possible formats are suggested in the Educator guide.
Do we include science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in the project?
The topic chosen for this year's Space Brain Hack is very interdisciplinary. That's the beauty of space! You can use the space theme in various learning situations (science, math, physics, biology, physical and health education, language arts, etc.). STEM subjects are included in the information and in the questions provided to serve as a guide for students as they brainstorm ideas. High-level curriculum topics are provided in the Educator guide.
Can this activity be carried out in informal learning situations, such as with a community group or in a science centre?
The Space Brain Hack is open to all educators of young people in grades 6 to 12. In our view, educators include anyone who has an influence on a student's learning, future education and career choices. Educators can include parents, teachers, volunteers and youth group leaders in various organizations (e.g., schools, science centres and museums, libraries, youth organizations, clubs and community groups). The activity is designed to be adapted to a wide variety of learning situations.
Is the activity only for grades 6 and up, or can it be adapted to a younger group?
Only students in Grade 6 and higher grades are eligible to submit their ideas for the contest. However, younger students can certainly participate in the activity if they have their educator's permission.
If you are an educator teaching a split Grade 5/6 class, it would be best to put all Grade 6 students together in groups and the Grade 5 students in other groups, where possible. Each group can fill out a worksheet; however, only the Grade 6 students can submit their ideas as part of the contest.
Selection and prizes
How are winning entries selected?
All the entries will be assessed on the basis of four criteria within each age group: Communication, Innovation, Validity and Critical thinking (Grades 6 to 8) or Critical analysis (Grades 9 to 12). The Educator guide includes the detailed assessment criteria that we will be using to select the winning entries.
What are the prizes for the winners?
Winners are chosen for each category, i.e., grades 6 to 8 and grades 9 to 12, based on the assessment criteria. The following prizes will be given for each category:
- The top 10 projects will be showcased on the CSA website;
- The top three winners will take part in a virtual work session with CSA experts, during which they will present their solution to the experts and the other winners and receive their feedback about their idea;
- The grand prize winner will win a virtual visit from a CSA speaker or astronaut that will be held for their class, group or school (or family and friends in the case of individual submissions made outside of a school or organizational setting).
What happens when one of my classes or groups wins?
The CSA will contact the top 10 winning teams in each category, using the educator's email address provided in the submission form. The educator will be asked to provide students' first names and get the winners' parents or legal guardians to sign a consent form allowing the CSA to publish the winning projects and the team members' names on its website and social media platforms.
The CSA will coordinate the logistics of the virtual work session for the top three winners and the presentation to the grand prize winners and the educators.
Where can I find more information about the topic?
Each Space Brain Hack activity will come with a set of Educator resources. These include an Educator guide, a presentation (with speaking notes), student worksheets and a toolkit. The toolkit contains supporting information, infographics and videos, additional activities, and high‑level curriculum links and outcomes. The Educator guide also includes guiding questions, additional background information and resources. All these resources can be found on the Space Brain Hack webpage.
Is support provided to help me better understand the topic?
The resources provided for the activity, i.e., the Educator guide, the presentation and the toolkit found on the Space Brain Hack webpage, include what you need to hold the activity. If, after looking through these resources, you still have questions, please send us an email at email@example.com.
Is there a list of "local experts" that we can use to augment the program?
You can find a list of Canadian Space Ambassadors on our website. These speakers are eager to share their knowledge of and passion for space, but are not affiliated with the CSA. You can also go to our Canadian Space Directory to find a local space firm to consult. Please note that these speakers and organizations are not involved in the Space Brain Hack activity specifically, but many are keen to help prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts. The CSA will not put you in contact with these speakers and organizations.
Can we include students from different grades to carry out this activity?
Yes, of course, but we recommend that all members of a given group be in the same contest category, i.e., grades 6 to 8 or grades 9 to 12, because you will be required to submit their ideas within one of the two categories.
Can a student be in several groups or submit several entries?
A student can be a member of several groups and submit more than one idea.
Is there a maximum or minimum group size?
The maximum number of students per group is six. We encourage young people to work in teams, but we accept individual submissions.
Can a student submit a project on their own, without the help of an educator or parent?
For legal reasons, a student cannot submit an idea on their own. A parent or guardian, an educator or an adult over age 18 is required to submit the worksheet on behalf of the student as per the Terms and conditions.
What is the submission process?
We have made the submission process as quick and simple as possible. Educators just fill out the online form and attach the worksheets (1 per team). If the teams fill out the forms by hand rather than electronically, you can scan or photograph them, whichever is easier for you.
If you require an alternate submission format, please send us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I submit an entry for my entire class?
You can submit several entries in one submission, but be sure to submit one worksheet per idea, per team.
Are you gathering personal information when we submit an idea?
The CSA will not gather any personal information from students at the time of the submission, but we ask for the educator's name, email address, school/organization, city/town and province/territory. The top 10 winning teams for each category will be asked to provide the students' first names as well as a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian allowing the CSA to publish the first names of the winners on its website and social media platforms.
Does a proposed idea have to be shared through the worksheet or can the students go further and design it using software, explain it in a video or use another means to submit it?
To help us fairly assess the many entries, we ask that you use the worksheet to make your submission. The worksheet contains a section where participants can draw their ideas. Only the worksheets will be assessed (you can draw on a separate piece of paper if the space provided on the worksheet is not enough, but make sure that the separate piece of paper is attached to and submitted with the worksheet). We encourage you to take the activity further if you feel so inclined and to share the final results with us on social media (tag the CSA when you do).
Is there any other way to submit the worksheets?
If you require an alternate submission format, please send us a request by email at email@example.com.
How can I stay informed about the Space Brain Hack and future activities and opportunities?
You can sign up for our mailing list, which we use to send out the latest news and opportunities for young people and educators. Be sure to check out our youth and educators website for activities, experiments, games and other learning resources for kindergarten-to-grade-12 young people and for educators.
Can I send my students' ideas to the CSA for feedback before submitting them?
For fairness reasons, the CSA will not provide feedback on ideas before they are submitted. However, if you have questions about the Space Brain Hack for which you can't find an answer in the resources provided, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will there be other initiatives related to Canada's participation in the Artemis missions to the Moon and the Lunar Gateway?
We will be launching new exciting learning initiatives later in the school year and during the next school year as well. We are also providing funding for activities. All of these relate to rovers, lunar science, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and health and nutrition.
Remember to check out youth and educators section of our website for our current activities, experiments, games and other learning resources for kindergarten-to-grade-12 young people and for educators.
As an educator, do I need to have previous knowledge of space or of STEM subjects to hold this activity with my students?
You don't have to be a space buff to hold this activity. We provide an all-in-one package, including a presentation with speaking notes and a toolkit containing various resources, to help you hold the activity. And if you're stumped by a question, please contact us. We're here to help.
Would it be possible for the winners to visit the CSA facilities?
We are unable to organize visits for the winners at this time.
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