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Content Starts What is an Imagination Classroom?

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June 7 2023

Today, we visited Indooroopilly State High School. We were in a space we didn’t expect to be in – we were outdoors in a yarning circle … a sandstone circle in a quiet part of the school, up on the hill, by a beautiful patch of Eucalypts and flowering Wattle. We had no tables and chairs, no electricity, but we had nature, and that allowed us to be centered, and to bring the group together, uniting the First Nations students who were from grades ranging from year 7 – 12.

Before we dove into themes of values and imagination, we played a couple of dynamic games and then Yolande (who has a background as a senior dance artist with Bangarra Dance Theatre) guided us through some movement, as an Acknowledgement of Country unfolded. Some of the students were pushed into unfamiliar territory here, as they explored connection to Country through gesture and movement … but everyone steadily became anchored in relation as the session gently emerged.

I could feel everybody connecting to each other, having space to think and the freedom to choose when to participate, and that’s great because in the end, everybody was captured and everyone joined together, and that was all through their choice.

Yolande Brown, AIME

So, what is an Imagination Classroom?

An Imagination Classroom is one filled with questions!

Sam, Indooroopilly State High School student

The students kept coming back to connectedness, nature and space and time. They said:
Imagination is about creativity
It’s about unlocking your mindset
It’s about meeting people halfway
It’s about dreaming

A deeper discussion of what the students might want to do beyond school opened up – the possibilities of science and rockets and space were ignited, especially once the students realised one of our AIME guests was Hannah Ashford from The Karman Project, a foundation AIME is excited to be partnering with. Hannah’s profession sees her working with a bunch of the big space agencies and she is often in conversation with Astronauts from around the globe. The students were enthralled by this especially as some of them are enrolled in the subject Aerospace, which is offered at the school.

It fit in perfectly with Hannah being there, because they were able to connect and talk to her on a level that we couldn’t understand because they knew all of the scientific terms – the terminology of all things space and outer space. It was awesome for Hannah to be able to connect with the students on that level as well!

Rhian Miller, AIME

Conversation flowed about how the different space agencies communicate and connect with one another and where they’re allowed to be. Some super interesting connections were made – we spoke about treaties, and the fact that there are five international treaties underpinning space law,  but none yet for the nation of Australia!

And then Hannah rocketed into talking about the 1 million president workshop that is currently being developed, and how all of the students’ speeches will go into space and they’ll orbit space temporarily before coming back down to Australia and memorialised in a mural as a work of art. The students were so excited about the possibility of their words, their images, their drawings, their dances, their creative outlets going to space!

And as we were looking at space from the perspective of imagination, Hannah mentioned how scientists are sending seeds into outer space.

Why, you might ask?

When plants are in outer space, they need less water, so through sending the seeds to outer space, it changes the plants’ need for water … when they’re brought back to Earth, it seems they don’t need as much water to grow and fruit, etc … They’re thinking that this could potentially be a way to generate crops that don’t require so much hydration which could have incredible impacts on farming in dryer regions, making certain farming practices more sustainable.

Wow! Who would imagine?

So, what is imagination? I think we’ve left this session with more questions than answers, but we definitely had some really great discussions along the way and made some really awesome connections with the kids, with the school, with community … and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Rhian Miller, AIME
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