Nova Scotia’s students will soon learn more about the excitement of space exploration, technology and careers thanks to a new partnership between the province and the Canadian Space Agency. Minister of Education Ramona Jennex and the Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, Tony Clement, signed a memorandum of understanding and licence agreement, today, Feb. 4, that will support the development of curriculum resources and space technology learning products for teachers and students. This agreement is the first of its kind in Canada. “This partnership is very exciting as it will provide students with access to resources that will expose them to the many interesting learning opportunities and careers space has to offer,” said Ms. Jennex. “What better way to learn about space than by using materials from the experts.” The Canadian Space Agency has already provided professional learning sessions and access to their many learning resources, such as DVDs on space suits, career information, and guest speakers. These opportunities will continue and expand as new supports are introduced. “The signature and subsequent implementation of this agreement is an excellent example of a federal-provincial collaboration supporting Canada’s efforts to create conditions for science and technology excellence in our country,” said Mr. Clement. Astronaut Robert Thirsk was in Halifax to support the partnership, and answer questions from students. This is not the first time students in Nova Scotia have received an opportunity to ask astronauts questions. In October 2009, 16 Grade 9, 10 and 11 students were given an opportunity to ask questions to Mr. Thirsk and the rest of the crew on board the International Space Station using a satellite downlink at Mount Saint Vincent University. “Because of this agreement, a lot of students will discover a new found interest in science and space, like I did,” said Kayley Malonson, a Grade 12 student at West Kings District High School in Auburn, Kings Co. “Participating in the downlink event and getting to speak to Mr. Thirsk while he was actually in space made me realize what I want to do with my future, and taking my bachelor of science is the first step.” The Department of Education has been meeting with the Canadian Space Agency to develop curriculum and resources over the past year, and classrooms have already began to receive materials. “Having a partnership between the province and the Canadian Space Agency opens so many windows of opportunity for the children and youth of Nova Scotia,” said Brian Ellenberger, principal of the Southdale-North Woodside School in Dartmouth. “Today’s opportunity for my students to meet a Canadian astronaut is an experience they will never forget, and I am very pleased that we were a part of this historical event.” For more information please visit www.ednet.ns.ca or www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/default.asp .