The final day of Space Camp
Thursday was the final day of the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy program, which 33 middle school math and science teachers from the Baltimore area took part in in Huntsville, Ala. Here are the final reports from some of the teachers who have been blogging about their experiences this week.
From City College math teacher Luis Lima:
Thursday was the last day of Space Camp. For Team Destiny, it was an emotional roller coaster. We started with an update on the status of NASA’s Ares program (the next manned mission to the moon). We were all very excited because after the update we were going to complete out mission on the Endeavour. Emotions were also running high because we knew we were hours away from saying goodbye to the amazing group of people who made up Team Destiny. But that is another story.
Mission Endeavour was a complete success. We had the most anomalies (things that can go wrong during any mission) thrown at us. At one point in time we were hit by a tornado and had to evacuate mission control while two of our crew members were space walking in order to repair the tiles on the orbiter. As I described in my previous blog, this is a very realistic environment and it was interesting to see how we all worked together to complete the mission and also have some fun. Today’s simulation brought home to me a statement I heard during my five days here: that NASA trains the fear out of its astronauts. Not that we were in danger at any time. But the mission simulation is pretty realistic and I had insight.
I guess we were on the right path today, since we were visited by a star trooper. After the mission, we were on the war path to complete all of our other chores: creating memorabilia to share with the team and to present to our counselors. Leigh and Lindsey, the multi-talented pair of educators who were our camp leaders, made our experience even more memorable through their competent, effective and meaningful leadership. But I digress ...
So, this is after lunch and we are all in the auditorium to attend Story Musgrave’s lecture. It was one of the most memorable presentations I have attended so far. Story’s amazing life story is an inspiration. He is brilliant and funny and, at his age, is still going strong. You may be asking, Story, who? Story Musgrave is the astronaut who has flown six shuttle missions. He was also responsible for the design of the tools and repair procedures for the maintenance of the Hubble telescope. Check him out. He was more than accommodating with our picture requirements, he signed anything you could have asked him to, and was really nice to all of us. I am in awe of the brilliant simplicity and technical excellence of his design.
Our next adventure was to explore the Lunar Stations with a set of problem-solving activities related to living and working on the moon. There were lots of great and easy-to-use activities to help students cooperate in the solution of complex problems. Very cool.
Let me give you a quick tip. If you ever come here, take the time to go on the Space Shoot. Now, you want to face the Apollo 11 rocket.
As soon as Story left, we were able to finally have Leigh and Lindsey to settle down and the tears flowed ... it was preparation for graduation.
I was glad that Honeywell was represented, so we all had a chance to thank its employees for their generosity. None of us would have been at camp today otherwise. Another cool moment had to do with space camp for the visually impaired. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this special camp provides visually impaired kids with the environment to have the same experiences we went through. It was amazing to see them succeed at the same anomalies we did in the morning.
As the program moved along, our team patches were officially unveiled and we were presented with our certificates and wings. Leigh and Lindsey went over the brag sheet, and Team Destiny was happy and proud to have succeeded together. Tears and cheers!
I am very glad I was selected to attend Space Camp. I hope I am able to do justice to all that I learned here when I attempt to translate these experiences and the enthusiasm for space exploration to my classes and my colleagues. I will be back for Advanced Camp in two years with my team. Team Destiny Rules! Roger and Out!
From Sabourah Abdunafi of ConneXions Community Leadership Academy in Baltimore:
It is amazing how fond you can grow of people in such a short period of time. I was grouped with 17 other people and two team leaders. On the first day, that team-building activity was priceless because we became more than a team - we became a family. We broke our necks to make sure that everyone was considered, on time, enjoying themselves and learning. It was so difficult trying to figure out what to say to each other on our last night. The one thing that we all could agree on was that we would work diligently with the things that we learned over the week, collect data for the next year and a half - and all apply for advanced space camp in two years. We have already put into place an action plan to assist our students and other students from our district in learning about math, science, engineering and technology (STEM) through space.
I expected to enjoy myself as I learned, but this experience was more than I could ever imagine. I continue to reflect on how I felt in the classroom during each lesson, activity and lecture to assist me in becoming more considerate of my students’ learning styles.
From Amy Wood of the Maryland Science Center:
My final day of Honeywell Educators at Space Academy was the perfect ending to a weeklong camp that was enlightening, challenging and fun. In one week, I managed to build two rockets, and a lunar and Mars lander, be flight director at mission control, and perform an EVA to repair heat tiles on the side of the shuttle. My designs were not always successful, but sometimes failing is more fun!
My favorite moment happened while landing in the space shuttle. I was a mission specialist, sitting behind the pilot and commander. We were preparing for landing and all of a sudden every caution and warning light went off. After much screaming and panicking we all managed to pull ourselves together and fix everything.
I also met teachers from four countries and many different states. I learned that although we were all different, we all share a common goal of education and outreach. I also realized how complex and diverse NASA’s work force truly is and that they share our goals of educating and outreach.
I will take this experience with me everywhere I go and always look back and smile.