131 students and 15 teachers from 7 countries, including Poland, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and the United States, participated in the 17th E-Pal Week as part of the Partner School Science Program (PSSP), which was organized by Global Friendship Through Space Education Foundation and Space Camp Türkiye on June 30-July 6, 2019.

131 students and 15 teachers from 7 countries, including Poland, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and the United States, participated in the 17th E-Pal Week as part of the Partner School Science Program (PSSP), which was organized by Global Friendship Through Space Education Foundation and Space Camp Türkiye on June 30-July 6, 2019.

Participants ranging in age from 9 to 15 participated in fun and educational activities such as training with astronaut simulators, rocket construction and launching, virtual space flight mission with space station, virtual Mars tour, astronomy via magic planet, special events night, and barbecue party. During the Science Fair organized for E-Pal Week, participants shared the projects that they have been working on throughout the year with their friends.

GFTSE and Educational Outreach Department Manager Tolga Yildirim, who manages the program throughout the year, said “Students in the Partner School Science Program gain knowledge about science, astronomy and space technologies with the help of educational packages that are developed using STEAM based teaching methods. We create opportunities for students to integrate science with space by offering projects such as ’Mission Patch’ and ‘Solar System Vacation’. Thus, students have the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary studies and broaden their horizons through hands-on training. Students that work on several different projects together throughout the academic year not only develop themselves academically, they also contribute to their social development by being in the same team with students from different countries and have the opportunity to establish long-term friendships.”

What is Partner School Science Program?

Since 2003, GFTSE and the PSSP have been bringing together science classrooms from around the world, using a common interest in space science and space travel that is shared amongst all participants. Using effective NASA based learning materials, STEAM and project based teaching methods – to open communication, appreciation, and understanding between partner school students that goes beyond cultures and language.

At the end of the year, students exhibit their projects at Space Camp Türkiye while learning about the different cultures and building new friendships as well as developing personal skills during the Galactic Summer Camp While the children are able to learn in an exciting and stimulating environment, GFTSE assigns “E-Pals” to children from different cultures. These E-Pals have the opportunity to make life-long friendships and memories, as students E-mail each other not only about space-related topics and projects but also their daily lives. This gives PSSP a unique multi-cultural aspect that keeps teachers and students returning from year-to-year.

The program has hosted several astronauts such as Michael Foreman, Richard Linnehan, and Jean-Francois Clervoy as special guests during the E-pal weeks in the past years. During these sessions, the students get the chance to ask all the space related questions they have on their minds and also listen to what astronauts have to say about living and working in space.

10th year anniversary celebrations of Partner School Science Program (2013)

PSSP in numbers;

• Since 2003, 448 videoconferences were conducted as a part of the project.
• So far, a total of 63 schools and over 7 thousand students from Bulgaria, Canada, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Türkiye, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and United States participated in the program.
• 82 videoconferences were conducted with NASA's Glenn Research, Marshall, Stennis, and Johnson Space Centers.
• In 2003 and 2004, an amateur radio connection was established with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
• As a part of the program, 17 special guests have participated in different E-pal week sessions.
• The program offers 9 different project topics that the students can choose from.

Space Camp Türkiye’s programs which are offered for students in the 7-18 age group and range from 1.5 days to 6 days, will continue until the end of August.

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