Blog Archives

Mission Patch Explained

I know I have posted about this before, but I think I need to explain our patch. One of the activities we did at Space Academy was come up with a mission patch. I thought this was awesome since we came together as a team and came up with our patch.


Here is the story behind our patch:

The first Honeywell Educator week 2012 team Zarya patch was created by team member artist Melinda. Given that we are teachers, the story begins on Earth in Huntsville, Alabama at the US Space and Rocket Center with a student gazing up to the sky. As educators, we strive to inspire our students to aim for the stars. In the sky, the seven-pointed morning star in the easy and the eight pointed evening star in the west represents both Zarya and our fourteen team members and our spirited leader. The space station orbiting the Earth depicts Zarya, the initial piece of the ISS built by the Russians, with Zarya written in Russian. The colors red, white, green and blue signify the countries represented by our team members: United States, United Kingdom, and Mexico. Finally the fourteen small stars symbolize our team members, with our team leader Jennifer as the comet lighting our sky.

Awesome job by everyone. Congratulations Team Zarya on Best Team Shuttle Mission!!!

Space Academy Graduation Day

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As I look back on the last day of Space Academy, I find my self wondering will I ever experience anything as awesome as this experience. It has been the best professional development as a teacher and a great personal experience.

The last day began on a sad note, this was it we were going home tomorrow. But we still had things to do, we first completed DNA extraction. The activity was led by HudsonAlpha, an institute for biotechnology.  We extracted DNA from different fruits, strawberry being the easiest. Using different washing agents and reagents we mixed a salt solution and alcohol to extract the DNA. Washing agents included woolite, dish soap, and other household agents. The additional Reagents included baking soda, meat tenderizer and contact solution. All went well and as you can tell from the picture below, I did it right!


Next on the agenda for the day was to listen to a talk on living on the space station. The funniest part was when we viewed a video on throwing up in space. Awesome talk and found out that you really do  have to have  the desire to go into space if you are going to live this way for while.  After this the day was winding down to graduation, we sat through a discussion on NASA educational materials. And of course we discussed NASA Explorers School (NES). We headed over to the Davidson Center where we were to hold graduation and have our dinner. By the way it was under the Saturn V rocket.

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Well graduation came pretty fast and was over in a blink of an eye. The best part about graduation was when my Team Zarya won best shuttle mission. Now that was awesome. Our guest speaker was Leland Melvin NASA former astronaut and now administrator of education at NASA. Totally excited about the opportunity to be able to listen to him speak. Graduation ended on somber note, I think everyone was tired from all that we had done in 5 days, but sad because the most wonderful experience was over.

Now what does this have to do with teaching, if you can’t figure that out by now then you need to read all my posts. Each day we were given the opportunity to obtain more material for us to take back and implement in the classroom. Just the experience alone gave us ideas for our classroom. This has been a dream of mine, many times I checked out the Space Camp website. To be able to attend and then bring back all this material is just great. I can’t stop thanking Honeywell and everyone at Space Academy for giving me this great opportunity.

Day Two: Mission Complete

Day two included Area 51 Ropes, Final Shuttle Mission and Zip Line. The day started off with what they call Low Ropes at Area  51. I thought the name alone was fun. At this team building event, we were called upon to use specific skills to face different challenges. I know that we do this on our Sophomore retreats at school. This was not new to me. But the challenges were. This is another way of really building on communication and collaboration. Tons of other opportunities presented themselves for us to build our team skills. Now I understand why we do it on the Sophomore retreat, I think it helps our students understand that they can accomplish anything. These activities really do build team skills and are a wonderful tool for teaching. When we left the area they gave us a packet of different activities we could bring back to the classroom. That was one of the most important points the group leaders and head of the program focused on; everything could be taken back to the classroom.

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This would only be the beginning of a long and fruitful day. And when I mean long, I mean long. We ended our day around 9:30 pm. Exhausted but totally satisfied with all that we had done in the day.

Our second biggest event was our mission. We were to fly the shuttle into orbit and complete some EVA’s (space walks). My biggest fear was crashing the shuttle. Since I was the Commander I needed to land this baby! With the help from my team and a great pilot we landed safely and completed the mission. Our group leader was very happy and told us we did awesome. Our mission specialists did a great job and completed their tasks on time. Overall the team work and effort we put into the mission showed. I can’t wait to see the pictures of this mission.

The second part of the day ended up being one of the best experiences I will ever have. We went down a zip line, backwards. It was an amazing experience and one of the highlights of the trip to space camp. After this we went back to the Marshall Flight Education Center for more classroom materials and another mission overview.

Our next mission would be Orion and this one would be very different.