Australia has partnered with the University of South Australia and Regional Development Australia (RDA) to embed space and science into the national school curriculum, recently piloting the lessons in two states. The Future U program, developed from a collaboration between The Boeing Company and Discovery Education, was aligned to Australian schools’ lesson plans, enabling teachers of years 7-10 students to engage, educate and inspire young minds on a diverse range of space career pathways.

“We’ve learned from more than 17 years supporting the Aerospace Gateway Schools program that the best way to optimise children’s learning is to make it easily accessible for teachers to apply in their classroom,” said Sandra James, senior manager University Relations and STEM. “By tailoring our content into the national curriculum we’re hoping to expose students early to key skills and knowledge that capture the hearts and minds of future space leaders and innovators and grow our talent pipeline.”

The first Future U lessons were launched at Aviation High School in Queensland and Catherine McAuley Catholic College in New South Wales, where Boeing employees partnered with the teachers to deliver the lessons. The lesson plans gave students the chance to design and test a Mars spacecraft prototype, explore the uses of welding across the space manufacturing sector, improve the sustainability of flights, and build and work in a gateway lunar base.

“Providing the tools to engage students in real-life practical scenarios beyond what they see in movies or TV, has made the possibility of a career in the space industry very real for them,” said Luke Kelleher, Leader of Learning – Science and Mathematics at Catherine McAuley Catholic College.

More than 180 year 7 students in the NSW Hunter Region experienced the program in December, through the RDA’s ME program which is designed to connect students with the defence industry.

“The Future U lesson plans also expand on scientific knowledge to include communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity which are equally essential to working in ground-breaking teams,” said Rick Evans, manager of Skilled Workforce Programs for RDA Hunter. “Future U is an ideal vehicle to attract talent to Australia’s Department of Defence, Defence Industries and to build our space sovereignty.”

The program will continue to be piloted in select schools, including in South Australia in 2022.

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