Balloon Stellar – Stratosphere to Launch in Croatia in April
Jason and I are headed to oversee the launch of this flight in Croatia. It will be in the NSW School Holidays.
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Balloon Stellar – Stratosphere is our first serious educational program. That is why we have invested so much enthusiasm in its development. After a few months of preparations, uncountable work hours, eight creative workshops with over 130 participants, and many miles on the road, it finally starts. You can learn more about Balloon Stellar – Stratosphere competition here.
Group photo after the workshop in Metković, Croatia
Following the example of Google Lunar XPRIZE, we decided to offer a cash prizes to the most successful teams. We announced our competition everywhere and in every possible way.
We gave them an opportunity, and also the motivation.
We have prepared a special micro-site for the competition, we held a press conference, we were guests on TV on several occasions, and we were interviewed for the newspapers. Our social media pages and channels were constantly buzzing on the subject.
And now, all of our hopes have finally come true. We have 21 teams in the competition! It is a great number of the teams, if you know that Croatia has the population of less than 4.5 mil. inhabitants.
We are more than happy with that number, but we are also very happy with the ideas for the experiments from high school teams.
You will hear more about the students’ experiments latter, but, in this post, I want to say something about creative workshops we have organized for the interested students.
The physicist Bojan Markičević, educational expert and communicator of science, was just the right person to conduct these workshops. Bojan has ten years of international experience in educational activities. He has a somewhat unconventional approach to knowledge transfer in relation to the classical education, especially in Croatia.
Bojan traveled for over 2500 kilometers in just two weeks, in order to reach all of the teams (high school students) and encourage them to enter the competition.
He did not want to impose some ideas for the experiments or tell them what and how to do them. The main goal of his creative workshops was to awaken their interest in science, and to prepare them for teamwork. Bojan has developed a series of activities for the 4-hour workshops which are interesting, refreshing and mind opening.
One of the activities during the creative workshop
He wants to include all of the participants in the conversation to freely express their minds and to defend their opinions in a discussions, without any fear and reservations.
After the workshop, Bojan usually asks students to evaluate the workshop. They write their opinions about the workshop on the coloured papers, and stick them to the panel.
The high school students’ messages are clear, they find the workshops interesting, challenging, and they think that it helped them a lot to find a new perspective on the world around them. We are also hoping that Bojan`s workshops helped them learn the most important thing in science: how to ask the right question. When you learn how to formulate your question, only then you can conduct an experiment and find the right answer. Asking questions and finding answers, science is all about that.
Two days ago, we have published the names of the teams which entered the competition, and we wish all of them the best luck. Our balloons will fly the high school experiments this spring. Stay tuned.