Quintessence aims to do their part in creating a future filled with creative minds and innovative technology. Our outreach events are tailored to their respective audiences by using the 5E instructional model to create a curriculum that:
their interest regarding the future of space travel and space exploration
beyond their current knowledge of the topics
allows them to articulate their own ideas
build upon their understanding by providing hands-on opportunities (e.g. building simple computer programs, observing the effect of density on buoyancy, 3D printing simple models and touching the finished product, etc...)
we ask the point of contact for each outreach event to complete a survey, allowing us improve future outreach events by building upon the successes and improving points of weakness
Each curriculum piece provides the audience with a connection between the curricula topic and microgravity, the NBL, or our prototype’s potential use in space exploration. This helps relate the material discussed in outreach events to our project. Another focus of our outreach events is to share our enthusiasm and appreciation for the opportunity NASA has created for us budding scientists, engineers, and astronauts. Sending cargo to space costs $10,000 per pound, a price wall that keeps all but government entities and corporations from having access to science and technology innovation in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. Furthermore, there are Space Act agreements that need to be completed in order for any product to be sent into space, and completing one of these agreements is far beyond the scope of our current understanding. Put simply, NASA is going out of their way to give us an opportunity to send our design to space, an expensive and indescribably involved process that we could not be more grateful for.
The diversity in location of the team members homes allows Quintessence to thrive across the greater LA area, but particularly at their respective educational institutions. Quintessence has planned outreach events for community colleges that include: information sessions in which we speak about Micro-G NExT, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and programs such as National Community College Aerospace Scholars. In addition to talking about NASA programs that could accelerate their educational and professional career trajectory, we will also demonstrate 3D modeling & printing, graphic design, website prototyping, and using Python to create computer science applets for data analysis.
Quintessence plans to incorporate the 5E model (described above) in our high school outreach events in order to nurture and bolster the students STEM foundation. Micro-G NExT is a college level event, but we hope to bring Micro-G and its effects into the high school classroom. We have multiple events planned, including 2 lectures and supporting experiments, one with buoyancy, and another with gravity/microgravity. Another event we intend to host is called EngiNOW: we'll demonstrate Computer Aided Design by means of modeling and printing a simple shape using a 3D printer, and then we'll have the students use their printed pieces to create a tool to solve a novel (but still feasible) engineering problem. We'll provide all the materials needed for this challenge and award a prize (e.g. a NASA pin or sticker) to the student/team with the most creative/effective solution to the problem.
These events will target grades K-8. These children are the foundation of our future; paying attention to and focusing on educating them will increase the number of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians in the workforce of tomorrow. All professions are necessary and valuable in today's society, but as automation becomes more widespread and the need for workers to do factory, retail, and service jobs is reduced, we will need more creative and practical thinkers. With our outreach, we hope to do our part in inspiring children to pursue STEM careers in the hope that our future holds a fulfilled workforce that is prepared to address the problems posed by post-industrial society. One of our planned events introduces the concepts of buoyancy and density through a hands on demonstration. We will introduce and define the terms density and buoyancy (through various means and to varied precision depending on our audience). After clarifying that objects sink if they are more dense than water, and float if they are less dense, we will put an egg in the water, showing that it sinks. The question "is it possible to make an egg float?" will be proposed, and we will field suggestions and ideas from the audience. We will show that adding salt to the water makes the water more dense, and that the egg will float once a sufficient amount of salt has been added to the water. The main goal of this opportunity is to introduce the idea of scientific thinking through an examination of Matter and its Interactions. We'll provide all the materials needed for this challenge and award a prize (e.g. a NASA pin or sticker) to the student who can use the smallest quantity of salt in their salt water solution to make an egg float.
Our plan for Nursing Home outreach is centered around teaching the residents about technological advancements to show them the fruits of their generation's labour. The events will provide firsthand experience with 3D modeling & printing, both through our design and prototyping for our project, but also through modeling and printing simple pieces in order to showcase how a digital representation of a design can be brought to life in mere minutes. We'll describe the effects that Micro-G NExT has had on Quintessence as a team, but more importantly, why opportunities like this are so important for students in today's day and age - as climate change and environmental catastrophes abound, it is more important than ever to continue searching for habitable exoplanets if we are to survive in the long term as a species. This outreach event is, among other things, a thank you for creating a world in which we can have opportunities like the one created by Micro-G NExT.
Through the use of crowdsourced funding and social media, the team shares their vision and the process of being part of Micro-G with a wide demographic of people who may not otherwise know of NASA's opportunities for students.