Education with Milky-Way.Kiwi

About Spaceward Bound New Zealand

Spaceward Bound New Zealand started in 2015, as space and astronomy field expeditions conducted with teachers, students and scientists. We took current space and science knowledge and, looking at it from a New Zealand perspective, we delivered it using a mātauranga Māori approach.

We are focused on delivering our programmes in an environment of cultural safety and respect. This means we engage mana whenua and seek opportunities for our work to link strongly with local perspectives.

Our programmes are based around 6 activities. These are: planetarium shows, Mars rovers, Analog Astronauts, Online learning modules, Access to Remote Telescope and Field Trip.

We are focused on delivering our programmes in an environment of cultural safety and respect. This means we engage mana whenua and seek  opportunities for our work to link strongly with local perspectives.

Astrobiology is an umbrella discipline that seeks answers to three questions: What is life?, allowing students to get a unique perspective on life on Earth and how it might have formed; Where else in the Universe can we find life?, as we look for other life beyond Earth, we learn about our own uniqueness and fragility, and how lucky we are to exist here on Earth where so many things had to happen for us to be here, and What is the future of humankind?, which brings agency to our students and teachers as they are learning how everyone can contribute to co-creating a better future for humankind. Astrobiology includes ethics of future exploration and encourages people to think for the future.

Spaceward Bound New Zealand is an astrobiology educational programme developed by the New Zealand Astrobiology Network in collaboration with New Zealand teachers, NASA, ESA, JAXA and New Zealand Universities since 2015, using a mātauranga Māori approach and with information specifically tailored for New Zealand teachers and students and based on New Zealand resources and conditions. We work with the New Zealand Astrobiology Network to deliver this programme to schools. 

The programme demonstrates how space is an integral part of science and society, including not only STEM subjects but also policy making / legislation, arts, history and culture. It looks at the importance of keeping our identities and cultural traditions in today’s globalised society.

Our programme uses space as a tool to inspire our youth by showing them how we are literally made of stardust and how this is the most profound connection we have with each other and with our planet, which is the only place where we know so far that life exists.

Spaceward Bound New Zealand consists of theoretical and practical lessons in schools, covering astronomy, planetary sciences and space exploration and field expeditions in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), North Island, New Zealand.

We focus on increasing students’ understanding of scientific concepts, methods and processes and the relevance of space sciences in everyday’s life. We also teach about the contribution that New Zealand has brought to the world stage of space and astronomy. Since its inception, Spaceward Bound New Zealand has been promoting our country as one of the best field sites for astrobiology in the world.

NASA Spaceward Bound New Zealand – since 2015 promoting New Zealand as a world-class site for astrobiology research.

Not everyone can travel to these very special places in New Zealand so we bring this knowledge to schools through our planetarium sessions and interactive activities.

Our target age groups are years 6 through 10 as we want to help students make informed choices about the areas of study they will take through NCEA. Though those ages are our main focus we have more bespoke activities and programmes adapted for years 11-13 and under year 6.

The programme is supplemented by a strong online presence, including mentorship, networking, follow up activities and educational resources for both students, teachers and the communities they are part of.

Mars, Astrobiology & Extremophiles
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