Congratulations to Parkside Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, Ronnie Thomas, who recently earned a scholarship to attend the 2010 Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy (HE@SA) program this June. Here’s his own take on this experience …
“I was reminded while attending the High Museum Leonardo Da Vinci Math and Science Professional Development that minorities and females are extremely underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related careers. The thought stayed with me while attending the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teacher Academy later that summer in New Orleans, where we engaged in ways to integrate math and science skills in the classroom. At the start of the 2010 academic year I led fundraising projects in effort to send students to space camp where they would gain insight to possible career ideas. I also sponsored our school’s first robotics team and the 20 students from grades 2-5 of various ethnic, economic and gender backgrounds showed great interest in the STEM-related skills they were introduced to. … (More at the jump.)
“Many of the parents expressed how their children were now engaging them in conversations related to these skill set. At that point, I decided to apply for the teacher scholarship so that I could share this experience at space camp with the selected students from grades 4-5. We raised $1,500 to send two students to Space Camp June 13-18. I will attend camp from June 11-17 (attending student graduation on June 18).
“Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy is an incredible professional development experience! This five-day program is sponsored by Honeywell and is for teachers from around the world to come and participate in 45 hours of intensive classroom, laboratory and training time, focusing on space science and space exploration. Teachers also take part in astronaut-style training and simulations, as well as activities designed to promote life-long learning in a classroom setting. All lessons and activities link to National Science and Math Standards and are ready to use in the classroom. Selected teachers will participate in two simulated Space Shuttle Missions.
“You can be the Pilot, Commander, Flight Director, or Mission Specialist, or a variety of other positions. Your team will work together to achieve the objectives of the mission, whether it is completing a satellite repair, or construction on the ISS. You may be responsible for solving a problem through experimentation or creating a solution with your teammates. The mission experience is realistic, exciting and challenging! As part of the program, you will also simulate walking on the Moon and working in the frictionless environment of space on our Astronaut Simulators. Weather permitting we will spend an afternoon at Aviation Challenge simulating what it would be like to land in the water with a parachute or be rescued from the water by a helicopter. Not only are the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy an exciting professional development experience, it will also challenge you personally.
“I am elated to have been one of 16 educators selected from thousands of applicants around the world to attend Space Camp. It is my hope that I can use this experience to make real-world and life connections with students of all learning levels, to provide them with a foundation on which they can use to identify their position in our global society. I vow to relay the gained knowledge with all stakeholders in my learning community and use the opportunity to strengthen my instructional delivery in the classroom as we work to assist students with exceeding local, state and national science standards. My prospective participation in Space Camp has enhanced my passion to delivery 21st century learning experiences to all children I am privileged to serve. The culmination of the 2010 academic year and all that we have accomplished at Parkside Elementary has inspired me to pursue an EDS in science education.”