Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Day 5 - Final Day

As expected today was a little more subdued than the previous days, with people being a little quieter knowing that this was to be our last full day.

Placed into groups we were given a whole host of materials to make a parachute for a weighted pyramid. As our previous egg-stranaut did not make it, we were determined to make a safe trip. The activity was being marked on how long it took for the pyramid to land and the weight had to be under 100gs. We came in second. It was a great design and aptly named the lemon jelly, as it resembled a jelly fish, but some else just beat us, using a larger parachute!

Our second activity of the day was to put us in the place of scientists who were helping to create a safe community in space. Sadly the water has been contaminated!  So we were given lots of different materials with the task of ensuring that there was clean water to drink.  We were given very green water, filled with hair and other bits of nasty’s! We thought we had a great idea, but it was not going as well as we hoped, so we modified it. This really did not work out as planned! The water rose in connectivity and greatly lowered in it's PH levels. Not to mention that it came out grey. We were a long way of winning this one!

We then listened to a talk, about industry-leading technology to support production design, engineering and STEM education. This was more aimed at High School students but could be used for upper primary activities, especially useful to encourage students into engineering. The free software basically turned a 2D drawing into an interactive 3D model, allowing students to clearly see their designs.

Dan Oates then provided us with some insight to some of the special programs that Space Camp delivers to ALL children. Dan ensures that the SPACE CAMP and AVIATION CHALLENGE programs are specifically designed for special needs students, including camps for blind, and/or visually-impaired, deaf and/or hard-of-hearing, and a week at the end of summer designated for special needs youth. He had lots of stories to share about his voluntary experiences over the past 20 years working with these special needs students. Most of these children have hurdles to face every day, but the hurdles they face at Space Camp ensure that their self-confidence and self-ability levels go through the roof. When a blind child is about to jump off the edge of the high wall, he just jumps - no fear, as he cannot see how high he is. This gives him an advantage to those students who can see exactly how high it is. It is not often that they children have the advantage over the other children. Space Camp ensures that modifications are made to include all children. This was very inspirational, demonstrating how inclusion should be work.

In connection with the first activity of the day, our task was to drop a Lunar Rover onto Mars. This meant that we had to design a safe container that would drop from a first floor level without killing the egg-stranaut inside. Our design was quick and cheap. We dropped our Lander into the hoop, but it bounced slightly out - 8 points were deducted as it landed 8cm away from the hoop/crater. Then we released the Rover down the ramp with the egg-stranaut safe inside. You scored points on the distance the Rover traveled. Our Rover went the further! Then we had to check that the Egg-stranaut was unharmed, with not even a crack - we scored the highest points and finally won our first activity challenge! Whoo too!

Our final activity - was to make a robotic arm in case our space shuttle required repairs. Using the materials provided we made an arm out of card that could move in both directions by pulling on the strings. Our design worked brilliantly and successfully completed the task.

It was now time to Graduate. We each received our wings and our upside down name badge was taken off and placed the correct way up. It was at this point, on behalf of all the Aussies and the other Educators I took the opportunity in thanking Space Camp for their wonderful hospitality and most importantly for all the experiences that they had provided. Our Team Leader had often said that, "Once at Space Camp nothing will be the same again". She is not wrong. Jennifer provided us with the enthusiasm to keep on going, no matter how tired we were. I am proud to say that I have learnt so much...and I am eager to share these experiences.

Our finished parachute - the Lemon jelly!
With Team Mates - Jessica,  Jacqueline and Mark.
Explaining how our Water Filter was not a good system.
Thank you Ryan for your wonderful explanation.
With my new American Buddy - Jacqueline.
Mark, Corie, Jacqueline, Jennifer, Vicky, Me, Jessica and Ryan.
What a team we made! This was part of Team Columbus!

In my spacesuit weightless - it was not easy at all!

Completing this task was a lot harder than you think!
The view from the screen of the cockpit of the Orion Shuttle simulator.
My role was that of Mission Specialist, hitching a ride with Rastus before our moon walk!
Mallisa was Commander who landed the shuttle safely, and Ryan was the pilot.

Making the parachute with team mates Jess and Mark, Whilst Jacqueline
kindly took the photo!

Our Team designed this badge. Each badge tells a story.

Can you see some of the things that our group thought 
was important to include as part of our story?

List the items that you can see, and explain why you think they were included.

The Aussie's at Space Camp
Jessica, Amy, Bianca, Me,
 Mark, Tony and Mark.

Tomorrow I say Goodbye to Space Camp - but I will take away a lot more than I brought with me.

Thank you to the University of the Sunshine Coast for the Scholarship that made all this possible.
Also I would like to thank the schools that participated;

Kawana Waters State College
Meridan State School
Our Lady of the Rosary
Talara Primary College
Unity College

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Day Four - Rocket Launch!

Today we toured the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, in the Saturn V hall, under the impressive Saturn V rocket. The fully loaded Saturn V launch vehicle with the Apollo Spacecraft stands 60 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty on its pedestal and weighs 13 times as much as the statue. We then went into the capsule simulator, which showed the command panel display including 24 instruments, 566 switches, 40 even indicators (mechanical), and 71 lights. We had a closer look at the space suits that the astronauts had to wear to protect them from the hot and cold, and radiation particles.

We then visited the Imax Movie theatre, to watch the documented launch of the first space shuttle launched into space. The Space shuttle Columbia took off in 1981. In American style, I purchased a giant popcorn and soft drink, even with two people drinking and eating, we only got a third of the way down.  

After the exhilaration of the Columbia’s safe landing, we were given a host of teaching resources! Fun lesson plans to encourage students learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM).

Now the bit that we had all been waiting for! The Launching of our rockets. Our rockets were ignited and zoomed into the air. Sadly because of gunpowder laws I am unable to bring back my rocket – however, the NASA team know this, so have assured me that they will provide me with a new, unopened packet to bring home! YAY!  

Astronaut training – with simulated moonwalk and center of gravity simulator. I can not tell you how much fun this was. The moonwalk was not as easy as you think – moving up and down was fine, but going anywhere else took a lot more skill. I could of played (Whoops…trained) on this all day. The Center of gravity simulator made me laugh so loud, I just had to go on it again!

I then faced my greatest fear……going on the Space shooter. This shoots you high up into the sky and then you bounce back down again…not quite the tower of terror, but close to it. As it sends you up – you lose gravity at the top for a few seconds. I then rode on the Graviator! This spins you round and round and round at a G Force of 3. The first monkeys that went into space experienced a G Force of 32. Neil Armstrong experienced a G Force of 16. But still only a few of us Educators were brave enough to do it. I would like to thank Connor, Curtis, Ciara, Casey and Cameron for making me go on a similar ride over and over again at Dream World! This one I was not scared of!

Our final activity of the day was to create a Luna Telescope station. We were assessed on our presentation, our finances, and our creativity! I think we did rather well! 
Astronauts Sheva and Mark

Our team designed this Badge to represent
Team Columbia - See if you can work out
what it is suppose to represent and why?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Day Three - Rocketry and Ablative Shielding

Wow, today we made our rockets. Using an easy assemble kit, we built our rockets, then using spray paint, decorated them. Obviously I coloured my rocket in gold and green to represent Australia! I Can’t wait to blast them off in the next few days.

This was followed by robotics! I love robotics – these little guys can be programmed to do so much in the classroom. We only had a short time with them, but a great resource for all classrooms.

I then met Ed Buckbee, who was a NASA public affairs officer during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, and a spokesman for the early astronauts and the Apollo moonwalkers. He has been involved in the space program for over 50 years……and continues to work with the Space Camp educating students and teachers in awe of the fact that one of those little people will be on the Mars one day.

We then had to prepare an ablative shield for our little egg against a butane burner. Sadly our little egg-stronaut did not make it. Having a choice of several types of materials, we could choose items which cost possible points, such as copper mesh, sponge, cork, spack filler, aluminium foil etc. Unfortunately our shield did not work, and our egg paid the price! But some shields did work.

Another physical activity…..this time on the zip line flying 30 feet down into the water, I was first up, a bit scared, which soon turned to shaking fear when I realised I was going backwards! I screamed most of the way down, a lot of fun, but glad to be in the water. This was followed by a simulated helicopter sea crash. Luckily I survived this…..several times!

Now a question......How many people have stepped on the moons surface?

Our ablative shield being tested....sadly our egg didn't make it!

NXT Robots - From Legos's Mindstorm 

The stories that Ed Buckbee can tell you about all the astronauts!

Preparing for crash landing!

With fellow educator, after riding the Zip Line.

Day two - Shuttle Mission

Day 2

Shuttle Mission Day

Began the day with a some group physical challenges.  Within our groups we had to work out how to get across the Nile without getting our feet wet – the problem is that there were seven of us, with three planks of wood and only 10 blocks randomly placed in the river (Okay, it wasn’t really the Nile, just an area sectioned out! But it was really hard – our winning team was the fastest to ever cross!)

Professor Jay Graham gave an uplifting presentation about the different types of fuel used for specific parts of the shuttle flight. This was followed by a run down of how rockets actually work, including the different sections of the shuttle.

In the afternoon we went to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum. This was full of interesting facts and information. I squeezed into a capsule, which was actually bigger than that used by Alan Shepard in 1961, who was the first American to reach outer space! He was beaten in the race to be the first human to reach outer space by Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin by only 4 weeks. Did you know that these space journeys have helped us in our own lives? Such as GPS, and even Disposable nappies!(You will have to ask me another time the connection to the nappies!)

After a quick trip to Mars in a simulator I rock climbed a wall and abseiled back down!

Then it was time for the Shuttle mission! Decked out in my space suit – I travelled into space to complete our mission. With great team work and communication we completed our task and returned safely back to Earth.

Now here is a question? What part of the shuttle goes around the Earth? (Clue: It’s name matches it’s action!)
Climbing the wall - that was the easy part!

My new friends

Some of the rockets - see that bit at the very top......

....this is how an astronaut would be sitting on top of it!