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The Explorer's Mindset

ARES Learning focuses on helping students develop the skill sets and mindsets needed to thrive in a fast-moving unpredictable future. These ways of thinking are valuable whether students are working in the space industry as astronauts, engineers, and scientists - or as entrepreneurs (in the space economy or otherwise)… or as problem solvers addressing other difficult issues here on Earth. This post is the first in a five part series focusing on these valuable ways of thinking, beginning with the Explorer’s Mindset.

National Geographic has provided a powerful model for exploratory learning by defining a framework for “The Mindset of an Explorer” including age-specific skills and knowledge - and attitudes such as curiosity, responsibility, and empowerment. (1.) This framework has been extended by educators to include tools for helping students “see, observe, build curiosity, learn responsibility, feel empowered, and be stewards in our interconnected world.” (2.) The Explorer’s Mindset is meant to develop a love of adventure, exploration, and discovery - and is important for breakthrough thinking. (3.) Importantly, the mindset can help students to be flexible (4.), adaptable, and ready to make critical decisions without complete information. (5.) An Explorer’s Mindset can also help leaders shepherd a team through the process of innovation. (6.) Explorer’s Mindset can also help in mastering emotions, increasing productivity, setting goals, and achieving them. (7.) Perhaps the greatest value though would be the increased competence with pragmatic risk acceptance. (8.) In addition, with respect to social impact goals (on Earth and in space), an Explorer’s Mindset can help encourage environmental stewardship. (9.)

This excerpt comes from the book Space Education: Preparing Students for Humanity's Multi-Planet Future by our co-founder Dr. Mark Wagner. To learn more about the Explorer’s Mindset, check out this lesson from the Space Education Curriculum he developed for Space Prize Foundation; it's a free open education resource for students, educators, and enthusiasts everywhere: 2.1 Explorer’s Mindset.

Everyone on the Artemis II Crew exemplifies the Explorer's Mindset.

Learn more about the ARES Learning approach in the book Space Education: Preparing Students for Humanity's Multi-Planet Future by our co-founder Dr. Mark Wagner, and explore a complete Space Education Curriculum developed for high schools - it's a free and open education resource available to students, teachers, and enthusiasts everywhere.

Educators, sign up for online professional development based on the book and curriculum. And be sure to register for the FREE online Space Education Summit on April 21, 2023.

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