Hamilton Secondary College has a Vision to be South Australia’s leader in Space Education and equip future generations with the passion, knowledge and skills to be innovative, entrepreneurial and globally competitive in the space sector workforce.
With Australia’s aim to continue growing its space sector workforce to reach 30,000 direct jobs by 2030, education is widely acknowledged as an integral pillar to achieving this target.
In response to this national target, Hamilton Secondary College as a year 7–12 South Australian government STEM focus school, has developed a bold vision and expert capabilities to support the development of a robust educational pipeline to a career-ready space sector workforce by inspiring students to engage deeply with STEM learning through the application of space education as its core foundation.
Our vision is founded on two pillars:
- Educating students about Space across the primary and secondary years;
- Linking education to the Space Industry.
The Mission to Mars Initiative1 which operates in the Hamilton Space School was our initial program. It has been pivotal in educating Hamilton students about space as well as students across all South Australia, including widening the participation of those from rural and disadvantaged metropolitan schools. It provides students with an exciting platform to develop a richer understanding of current global issues as they are challenged to reach evidence-based conclusions about Mars’ habitability. The underpinning learning is strategically aligned to the Australian Curriculum, enhancing students’ science literacy and numeracy capabilities, and enabling them to apply their mathematical and science knowledge of space to highly immersive tasks as they explore the Mars surface. Since 2018, this initiative has inspired over 11,000 students, to engage more deeply with space learning. The success of this of this program to deliver strong educational outcomes, led us to build the only school based Planetarium in the Southern Hemisphere as part of a recent $9.165 million school facilities upgrade. The real-life context for curriculum and the immersive pedagogical experience that the planetarium can provide has strengthened and broaden the College’s capacity to support students, teachers and parents to see relevant and accessible academic and vocational pathways in STEM and in the Space sector in Australia.
Enquiries for bookings are currently available for the Mission to Mars through our website at www.hamcoll.sa.edu.au and please let us know if you are interested in Planetarium sessions through the same Space School form and we’ll notify you with further information for Outreach Planetarium sessions in Term 2, 2023.
We have supported the South Australian Space School Year 10 Space Camp’s for nearly 25 years and are delighted that they will be offering more Space Camps in 2023 during the school holidays – watch their website at SA Space School for application openings.
In 2022, we established a Special Interest Space Academy (ongoing from Year 7) to support students who have a strong passion and aspirations to work in the space sector, with a tailored, challenging curriculum to further develop their skills and interest and we have now welcomed a second Year 7 Space Academy in 2023. As an Open Zone program, year 7 student applications are now open on our website (https://www.hamcoll.sa.edu.au/space-school/hamilton-space-academy/). The Space Academy’s are complemented by an additional space focused STEM curriculum across the mainstream Australian Curriculum and SACE subjects allowing all our students to have a strong understanding of the future of space in Australia.
As a member of the Andy Thomas Space Foundation Education Committee, we have contributed to the development of their Educational Programs. Currently, we are again coordinating the ATSF Mars Challenge3 in 2023 with SA secondary schools able to apply for $4K grants through ATSF from Space Industry to link Australian Curriculum with the Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation ‘Giant Mars Map’ and Space Technology. We also took over the coordination of the Space Passport Program4 in 2022 at the Andy Thomas Space Foundation Biannual Space Forum, aiming to broaden students’ awareness of future space careers. Since 2019, this program has enabled over 1500 students from Years 2 - 12 and their teachers to learn about current/future Space Careers with over 90 Industries, directly involved with the Australian Space Sector Industry.
The College’s strategic partnership with the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat CRC)2 as the only school in Australia, further supports the development of essential skills for our students leading to future space careers. Through connections with the SmartSAT CRC we are also a partner of the ‘Plants For Space’, ARC Centre of Excellence based at the University of Adelaide led by Professor Matt Gillingham which will provide exciting opportunities for both Hamilton Space students and students across Australia.
- We acknowledge the support, generosity and collaboration of VSSEC (Victorian Space Science Education Centre) for the software of this program.
- The SmartSat CRC is a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry to develop space know-how, intellectual property and a specialist industry expertise that will foster new businesses, create export economic value and generate new high-tech jobs for all Australians.
- Andy Thomas Space Foundation Education Fund ‘Mars Challenge’ will be open in early March on https://andythomas.foundation/the-andy-thomas-space-foundation-education-fund/
- Space Passport Registration links will be open in earl March at https://forum.andythomas.foundation/15th-australian-space-forum/