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OeWF on tour: Water rocket workshop in Chechnya
Two weeks ago, the OeWF’s inspiration zone reached out to as far as the South-West of Russia! Sophie Gruber, a member of the Forum, gave a telelecture from the suitlab in Innsbruck. The audience was comprised of deaf teenagers and their teachers at the State Special Education School in Grozny, Chechen Republic. The telelecture was followed by a water rocket building workshop.
The lecture about Mars and Mars Simulation Mission done by the OeWF was translated into two languages: first, I interpreted it into Russian, and then one teacher – to sign language. Sophie also showed the Aouda X space suit, manufactured in the lab, and Tiuterra Crystal made in collaboration with Swarovski Company.
After Sophie’s interesting lecture, it was time for questions. To owe the truth, I did not believe the teenagers would ask any questions since I knew the space vocabulary was very hard for those who struggle to communicate even in a day-to-day life. Surprisingly, in addition to the teachers’ questions, we heard some inquiries from the younger audience, as well. I was impressed by a question from one teenager, who started as it follows (pronouncing it very slowly and as clearly as he could), “I am very interested, …” And then he asked something about the suit. Please, forgive me for not remembering the question exactly, but I was so glad to hear the phrase I did not pay much attention to the question itself. Let me point out again, that for such kids it is hard to speak a word! And if he made efforts to pronounce the phrase, it means he was really interested. Otherwise, he could simply state the question, “Why/For how long..?” Next, we all thanked Sophie in German! The kids were smiling to their ears and waving goodbye to Sophie! It was crystal clear: they enjoyed the space lecture by Sophie!
Next, we started building water rockets! I was glad to see how seriously the teenagers and the teachers (!) were building their own ones :) And the final part of the event… Launching the water rockets! It was much fun! The kids got so playful launching them again and again that we had to run away not to get very wet ;)
After the fun has finished, I was eager to hear their feedback since it was the first space event they got to be involved in. So I asked them, with the help of the same teacher-interpreter, if they liked the event. They shouted altogether, showing their thumbs up: “ДаАаАа!” – “YeEeEs!” Then I proceeded with the next question, “What did you like the most?” I got all sorts of answers: seeing the real spacesuit, making rockets, launching the rockets, finding out so much about Mars, the pictures of Mars, the whole presentation, everything and everything! An hour later, I heard complaints from kids from other classes, “Why we were not invited???” So, we have a room for more inspiration ;) When my grandmother, who works at the school but did not have a chance to attend the event, came later and asked the kids how it went, they said, showing the thumbs up, again, “We have not experienced anything similar before! It was perfect!”
Thank you, my dear OeWF for granting these teenagers and their teachers so much joy, inspiration, and excitement!
to Sophie Gruber for the lecture,
to Dr. Gernot Grömer for the idea,
and to Claudia Kobald for the help with organization of the event.
Author: Irsana Payzullaeva
This article is available in: German
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