The First Tradies on Mars

Building future-ready skills, along with the increased interest in growing produce prompted by COVID-19, resulted in the idea of the radish seed experiment at the Australian Industry Trade College. The cross-subject curriculum unit, established by AITC Team Leader, Rhys Cassidy was named ‘First tradies on Mars’, inspired by the founder of FutureWe Jonathan Nalder, who has radish seeds that have orbited the Earth.

“It is designed to take young people out of their comfort zone to think about a future scenario that requires new skills that are applicable here on earth, right now; skills like creative problem finding and solving, resilience, systems thinking, sustainability, and interdisciplinary thinking,” says Rhys.

The experiment aimed to inspire young people to investigate the idea of becoming sustainable on Mars, should the need for colony food production be required. The challenge was more than simply keeping the seeds alive, it was also designed to prepare young people for the quick-changing nature of a future in industry. Young people in high school today will see a vastly different working environment to what their parents and grandparents experienced before them.

The experiment was a team effort; an integrated task across all three subject areas (Literacy, Numeracy and Science). Team Leader Lauren Philp, who has a wealth of knowledge in gardening and botany, and grows many of her own vegetables, offered support to her colleague. Lauren was keenly involved in the project, as were a number of other staff members, many of whom conducted the experiment at their own homes out of curiosity.

Some young people have already had success with the growth of their radish seeds and others have collected significant data on the experiment. “The photos we have received from the young people via the Learning From Home platform have been incredibly insightful,” says Rhys.

To successfully educate tomorrow’s industry leaders, a future-focussed curriculum is essential. The industry landscape is developing at a fast pace, with improvements in innovative technologies. The radish seed experiment is an example of cross-subject learning experiences within the AITC industry-focussed model.

Who knows, perhaps in the future some of our AITC graduates will be the first tradies on Mars!