Klea Scharberg

Canada’s Music Monday Brings Music Education and Space Exploration Together

We know that when students are fully engaged in learning and school, academic achievement, attendance rates, and participation in activities increases. Students need to be motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order, creative-thinking skills and, ultimately, be prepared for their future college, career, and citizenship success.

To create environments where students can thrive and succeed, schools should

  • Use curriculum-related experiences such as field trips and outreach projects to complement and extend curriculum and instruction;
  • Promote students' understanding of the real world, global relevance, and application of learned content; and
  • Develop inquiry-based, experiential learning tasks and activities to help all students deepen their understanding of what they are learning and why they are learning it.

Schools and communities committed to educating the whole child engage students in the learning process and provide opportunities that connect them to the community. Canada's Coalition for Music Education and the Canadian Space Agency are going a few steps further by connecting students across the country with each other and with the International Space Station.

Music Monday was started in 2005 and is an annual event that celebrates music education programs in schools as a part of a well-rounded education and the links between these programs in schools, their communities, and the broader culture of Canada. Held last week on May 6, schools and communities "filled the sky with music" at the same time across all time zones and sang the same song, co-written by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson.

Hadfield spent the last five months commanding the International Space Station, returning safely this week on May 13, reported the Canadian Space Agency, continuing:

Hadfield captured the world's attention, sharing his space mission through countless tweets, videos and exchanges with school groups. His engaging videos, showing daily life and work aboard the Station, and his photographs of our planet have reminded the world that space exploration is not only about looking beyond but also about learning about Earth. Hadfield also performed Canadian experiments that will help to provide better understanding of life on Earth, such as the human cardiovascular system and radiation, and technologies for medical testing in remote locations. ...

Highlights from his mission include:

  • Engaging students across the country every week, through video connections and amateur radio contacts, reinforcing the importance of a sound education and disciplined work;
  • Announcing the winners of the Canadian Space Agency high school science contest. His spellbinding demonstration of the winning experiment on surface tension, has been viewed by millions;
  • Singing, with close to a million people across Canada and around the world, mostly students, for Music Monday;
  • Launching an interactive learning website on space with the National Film Board;
  • Unveiling Canada's new $5 bank note, which features Canadian robotics;
  • Speaking with remarkable Canadians like His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and actor William Shatner;
  • Reaching 885,000 followers on Twitter and producing over 88 videos that have been viewed close to 23 million times;
  • Conducting over 130 science experiments; and
  • Taking part in the catch and berth of SpaceX's Dragon capsule using Canadarm2.

Read the mission blog, watch the videos, and share the fun of learning with your students.


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