Quest Institute for Quality Education Works With Microsoft to Bring Junior High STEM Education to New Heights

Valley Christian Junior High Students with support from Microsoft Engineers launched Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT) experiment into space aboard the International Space Station.

SAN JOSE, Calif.--()--Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students at Valley Christian Junior High have been busy innovating with Microsoft, collaborating on the design and development of an IoT gateway that uses the power of Windows 10 IoT combined with the latest development tools from Microsoft to enable junior high school kids to bring their experiment to life.

The experiment represents the first time the Windows 10 IoT has been launched into space and demonstrates the power and utility of Microsoft’s latest operating system. The Quest NextGen experiment platform launched on October 17th with the Orbital resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and students are already analyzing the wealth of data and videos downloaded directly from their experiment.

“Getting students excited about STEM learning is what this aspirational program is all about,” says Danny Kim, Director of Innovation at Quest Institute. “This project has truly been a great collaboration between Microsoft and Valley Christian Junior High students that has taken our work to the next level.”

Working side by side with developers, the students are creating a control platform for their space-bound, cube-lab experiments which will allow them to move physical objects in space using magnetic reactions on different types of metals. While this has been an amazing opportunity for the young students, Kim sees the benefits of this STEM project collaboration reaching far more than just one school. “We’ve created a simpler, next-generation programming solution that will put the power of Windows 10 IoT in the hands of student ‘Makers’ everywhere…even an elementary student can now learn how to program,” says Kim.

Using Microsoft Visual Studio to program the main monitoring module, students set up Lego Mindstorms as the experiment platform, which they can control and monitor using Windows 10 IoT Core. Powered by these programming tools and combined with maker boards, lower-cost micro-computers and automation, the system is capable of delivering dynamic, cloud-based updates to zero-gravity science experiments while in flight aboard the ISS—allowing students to control their experiments from thousands of miles away. Eventually, students will have access to the output data via Microsoft Azure to analyze their findings.

“It’s important to encourage STEM education starting at an early age, and space science is a phenomenal way to get kids excited about STEM fields,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and Microsoft’s chief evangelist. “We are proud to be part of this effort and that Windows 10 is the platform that is helping students reach new heights.”

Through the Quest Institute for Quality Education, students from Hawaii to Finland have joined Valley Christian Schools in designing, building, and flight testing “micro-lab” experiments. This space station opportunity is being made available by NanoRacks LLC, via its Space Act Agreement with NASA's U.S. National Lab.

Quest Institute boasts an impressive record of 74 experiments launched by 775 students from 20 different schools and organizations worldwide. The collaboration with Microsoft introduces new opportunities for students to learn computer science directly from industry experts.

About the Quest Institute for Quality Education

The Quest Institute for Quality Education, located in San Jose, California, provides enriching programs for schools around the world in the fields of academics, arts and athletics via a personal Quest for Excellence™. More information at http://thequestinstitute.com and http://questforspace.com/.

About Valley Christian Schools

Valley Christian Schools (VCS) is a private, K-12 Christian school located in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. VCS provides rigorous, college-preparatory programs while challenging students towards lives of character, service, and influence while pursuing their individual Quest for Excellence.

About NanoRacks

NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide commercial hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station via a Space Act Agreement with NASA. NanoRacks’ main office is in Houston, Texas, right alongside the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Business Development office is in Washington, DC., and NanoRacks now has a new office in Silicon Valley, California.

HD microgravity video of experiment in flight aboard ISS: https://vimeo.com/192044949

Contacts

Quest Institute Press Contact:
Rhea Communications, Inc.
Brian Rhea, 408-234-1496
brian@rheacom.com

Contacts

Quest Institute Press Contact:
Rhea Communications, Inc.
Brian Rhea, 408-234-1496
brian@rheacom.com