Three scientists from different space science and engineering disciplines (for example a planetary scientist, a climate scientist and a space engineer) present a short and punchy ‘pitch’ for the students. The specialisms of the scientists should vary for each of the pitches, and if possible the speakers should be diverse in their gender, backgrounds, ages, etc.
After each pitch, the students can ask questions to find out about the scientists day-to-day job, work/life balance, or more about the specialist subject that each of the experts is discussing.
Following all pitches, the scientists come together for a final Q&A, and the vote is taken.
Students vote for the space scientist that they would invest their millions in and the winner is celebrated.
This event can be run in person, with all the experts visiting a classroom or a school hall for large groups of students. It can also work effectively online, with a video connection going to individual classrooms via zoom or Teams (etc). With a single large group, it is recommended that there is in-person, on-site facilitation, even if the scientists are remote and on-screen.
It is useful to have either a classroom teacher or an experienced science communicator present to help facilitate the event, who can support the scientists and ask questions about the individuals to bring a full picture of the person as well as the specialism.
The final vote can be a simple hands-up vote or can be made more exciting with an anonymous tool like ‘Mentimeter’ or “Kahoot” for a digital vote.
- Meet real scientists who are relatable role models and are passionate about their jobs
- Exploring the diversity of jobs in the space industry
- Hearing about different career pathways into space sector jobs
- If online, a stable internet connection, Teams/Zoom software and the ability to project the video onto a large screen, with a sufficient sound system
- If online, a roving microphone is useful for large groups
- Mentimeter or similar online vote software can be used for the vote.
- If done in-person (and standard hands-up is used for voting) materials needed to run this event are minimal.
Script/programme of activity
Begin with the facilitator who can introduce the event and talk about the diversity of space and space-related jobs
Without giving anything away about all the role models, introduce one of your scientists/engineers, welcoming them to start their pitch.
After the expert has finished their pitch, the facilitator should allow time for Q&A, and encourage students to ask questions about anything, or if the students are hesitant to start, the facilitator could ask some questions that would allow the speaker to talk more about their background and other relatable aspects of their life.
After the last question (or a prearranged period of time) Repeat with the second/third scientist.
Bring all scientists on stage for the final Q&A. Encourage final questions, and build to the final vote.
Students use “Mentimeter” (or a similar voting method) to vote for the space scientist in whom they would invest their funds in.
Celebrate the winner, thanks and close.
It is useful for the teacher/educator to encourage the quieter members of the class to ask questions or to share with the facilitator any particular interests of the students who may not consider science as something for them, in case role models can match those students.
Researchers/scientists need to prepare a pitch (with or without slides) about 10 minutes long.
Ensure the scientists are aware of the target audience and have prepared a pitch accordingly (e.g. aged 13, type of school/interests of the group etc)
Encourage scientists to talk about their life, their interests, and their background – particularly where these align with the students.
Suggest they ‘pitch’ their area of research/industry. Encourage a winning/fighting attitude that sells why the students would want to provide funding to their area over the others. This would include the use of exploring questions to describe why the students should care about this area of study? Why would someone spend their life doing this work? What are they trying to do in the big picture?
Suggest they practise a sum-up to their presentations as a way to finish the pitch. Possibly leaving the students with some big questions that they would like to know more about.
Key elements for inclusivenes
Ensure that the researchers/scientists/engineer role models involved in this event are diverse in genders/backgrounds/abilities whenever possible.
Encourage the visitor to talk about where they came from if they hated school/were bad at science/any disabilities or background that challenges the stereotype that only ‘white, privilege, males’ work in space science.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org