Sunday, 26 June 2016

Final day of Space Camp

Day five
Dan talked about camp opportunities for visually impaired students. Lots of wider full opportunities for disadvantaged students.

We then watched a film in the IMAX about future plans for Mars exploration ( narrated by the lovely Patrick Stewart) . After that time for gift shop.

Evaluations and post event questionnaire were next.

Opportunities that space camp has offered came next, then ablative shielding. We had to make a shield to protect an egg from five minutes of welding torch. Our team was successful.
We had a range of materials... Foil, mesh ( steel and copper) filler , card, cork, pasta sheets.

Here's our team's

Ablative shield

This was followed by graduation rehearsal!

We then listened to ....who wrote 'Rocket Boys' ( later a film based on the book, October Sky, was released) . Another example of what can be achieved if you 'Dream big!'

Graduation followed with awards for teams who had won missions and engineering challenges.

The evening closed with a meal and live band. I can count myself among the few who have danced under Saturn 5!

Have made great links with international teachers. United in our desire to make learning experiences relevant, stimulating, character building and fun, we will share how we take this collaboration forward.

Here are some other videos
Using the 1/6 chair Moon walk

Launching rockets Rocket

Mission simulator Capcom

Monday, 20 June 2016

Space Camp day four

Day four

Day begins with a simulation for a mission based in the past . Shuttle launch. We are representing Kennedy Space centre ( largest single storey building in the world , if no air con it would have its own climate with clouds!) . Also represent Houston and the Marshall operations centre. Their job was to monitor the astronauts and take once from Houston if their was a problem .
Our shuttle is called Atlantis which we will launch and dock with the ISS.
We have a training session in the morning and full mission in the afternoon. 👍
Rocket launch outside. Number 8
Following that , we did the 1/6 chair which gives an idea of what it is like to be in a low gravity environment.

We completed the mission. Our team were successful in docking and undocking the shuttle, but unfortunately crashed on landing. Oops! Houston, we have a problem

We listened to Honeywell ambassadors and completed activities on nano science.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Space Camp day three

Started with the mission. We were successful in our mission to swap a team on a lunar mission. Teams swapped and safely returned to Earth after experiments

After that we went on the space ride...scary!

Next rover and lander mission
 Have to protect an egg using materials provided. We have a budget and limited resources. Lander has to be dropped , rover transports the capsule. It will be dropped from the second floor of the building! All resources will be on the google drive.

After that we had lunch and then a trip in the cactus to the lake. There we took part in a range of activities .first was the zip wire. This was to simulate a crash landing in water. You climb a tower ( after being strapped in) and are then strapped to the zip wire. When clear to go you whizz down backwards into the lake which is a refreshing tonic to the heat. Once you have been un clipped you swim to the side where you clamber out.
The next activity was a simulated helicopter crash. Six in the dome which is plunged into the water and fills with water. The team leave via the door , one by one, and swim to a designated area. The whole team then swim to the landing area where one by one you climb into a landing net, are raised up and climb out.

Return to the centre and hear from Honeywell ambassadors. These are teachers who have previously attended space camp and share some of their activities.

First, Nadia from Romania. (11-18 physics teacher ) . She talked about activities she has carried out with her class. Also links with other schools in Europe . She has produced some resources to teach nano science. She also talked about ways that she has developed methodology in teaching to make mathematics more accessible.

Second ambassador talked about how he has used team work as his focus. Introduced a game called kahoot that can be used for multiple choice games. Discussed a range of team building games that he has used with children.

One of the main things that I have found from this experience is how similar our experiences are- assessment , funding, parental support, status of the profession. These were all shared. Interestingly there were no teachers from Finland, but this is a country recognised as having high standards and a well respected teaching profession. I would have loved to have had a conversation about this.  However, I have been privileged to speak to teachers from U.S.A. , Croatia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Kenya, Turkey, Portugal, New Zealand, China, Romania, Germany, Canada. There are 25 countries represented in the group this week, but we are in smaller teams so I have not been able to talk to everyone! The team work, collaboration and shared passion to raise standards, to make teaching accessible and creative are something that the policy makers for the education systems in our countries could benefit from seeing.

Space Camp day two

Day two

 Team building activities at area five. Moving toxic waste without touching the bucket, balance board and confusion maze where we had to get across using three planks.
Team building
Team building 2
Team building 3

Followed by talk about ARISS communication wth the ISS via radio. Gives opportunities to talk to astronauts. Plus video from Tim Peake.

Rocket making. With high speed instructions! Will be lanced on fourth day. Good reminder of what it is like to be a learner.

G force spinner. Strapped in and spun to 4G . Very strange and not very pleasant feeling at all. But I did it!

Mission patch activity . Team activity to make a logo to represent the team. We have to create a patch that defines us as a team. Chosen a hexagonal outline which will include the six countries represented by our team .

Now space mission...

I am CAPCOM. This means that I communicate between places to tell the right team people what to do
We are doing a simulation set in the future where we have to swap over astronauts who have been on Mars with replacements.
We have a script to follow, but anomalies can occur. I am the only one on base control who can communicate with the module.  Did a practice run...hard to follow all the instructions and keep to time. Have to switch between channels and listen to what's happening in each section. Really interesting. Look forward to the full activity tomorrow.

Then feedback to each other on how to use activities in our classrooms.

Science on orbit.
How the ISS operates. Life size scale replica of the ISS. Fascinating insight into life onboard.
On board the ISS
Robotics workshop

Using Lego to make robotics. See some pics. Two wheels and 'make it easier to turn.
Now programming. Using a Lego programme which has drag and drop icons to make a programme that will move the robot.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Space Camp USA

Day one

I hadn't realised how significant Hunstsville was in the whole space programme. This is the place that the engines were developed and built for the first missions to space...those which flew unmanned, and those with chimps. Probably the most famous of all , the Apollo missions, all as a result of the work carried out in this once small , cotton trading town. President James Kennedy visited Hunstville and gave his pledge to support the Amercan mission to send a man to the moon.

It's somewhat surreal seeing the huge rockets reaching to the sky, but incredible to see the enormity of it all close up.

This is where I am staying :

First day included seminars from Ed Buckbee, part of the team who trained the astronauts on the NASA space program and Astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger. She was on the I.S.S in 2012 and had taken part in space camp here in Huntsville as a child!

Here's her presentation

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Space camp

I'm waiting for the final transfer of my adventure to the Honeywell Educator's Space Academy. (HESA) I will be joining 100 other teachers from around the world for five days of cpd based around STEM subject teaching through space education.
I will be making a video diary and am hopeful that the ideas gleaned will heavily influence my teaching next year... I have been drawn onto the maths and English wheel ( hard to ignore, even more so in year 6) . Perhaps next year there will be fewer changes (!) and I can be more creative in my approach. That's my aim...

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Teacher reference group. Are you listening?

Earlier this year the DFE invited teachers to apply for the new teacher reference group.

My initial reaction was "Fantastic, a real chance to have our voices heard."

I duly filled in the  application form and waited ( and waited) to see what would happen.

Well, I was interviewed and joined the 20 other new members at a meeting last month.

A fabulous group of teachers all keen to share what is and isn't working in schools at the moment. Ms Morgan made a (brief) appearance , Nick Gibb stayed a lot longer and genuinely seemed to be interested in what we had to say .

Now what?!

The answer seems somewhat elusive .

I think the idea behind the TRG is excellent...for far too long education ministers and civil servants with a range of backgrounds ( few from education ) come up with ideas that have enormous impact on the teachers in our country . And the teachers have little or no say . Could this be a step in the right direction? I really hope so.

Here are some ideas that I think will help move things in the right direction. I am a primary school teacher and fully appreciate that there are issues regarding curriculum and assessment changes for GCSE and A levels and apologise for not including these, but they are of course enormously important and must be addressed.

1) The DFE should take time to respond fully to the NAHT letter regarding this year's KS2 SATs.
2) The DFE should respond fully to the questions raised about the proposed resits for Y7 children.
3) A promise to gve schools far more notice about changes. More importantly, adequate time to implement.

I have just been invited to a meeting with the headteacher reference group to discuss KS2 assessments. I tweeted about this to invite opinions that I could take along. Crikey, hundreds of responses flooded my timeline. Such enormous strength of feeling must be fed back to the DFE and I will do my best to do so.

Will they listen? Will it make a difference?

I hope so.

Watch this space.

Meeting on June 27th...