Four educators from Charleston Schools recently got the opportunity to attend the second annual Space Port Area Conference for Educators (SPACE) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Missy Stubblefield, Carole Terry, Susan Brown, and Sabrina Ketter spent three days at Kennedy Space Center immersed in workshops, presentations, tours, and exhibits. The purpose of the trip was to gain knowledge in the area of space history and future exploration in order to bring that information back to Charleston students.
While at the space center, the attendees took a “Behind the Scenes” tour in which they walked through the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). This building is where rockets were assembled for the Apollo missions, where space shuttles were mounted to their rockets and fuel tanks, and is currently used to work on prototypes for future missions. Educators were also given a history tour of Cape Canaveral with Dr. Sonny Witt where they saw launch sites for some of the very first rocket launches, as well as construction of new launch pads for future endeavors. Some of the teachers’ favorite exhibits included the Apollo/Saturn V building and the Atlantis exhibit. The Apollo building housed a full Saturn V rocket and memorabilia from the Apollo missions. The Atlantis building held a presentation on the history of the shuttle program and ended with visitors being face-to-face with the Atlantis space shuttle. The building also housed many informational stations about shuttles, as well as a memorial to the two shuttles that were lost. Another favorite part of the conference was the resentations given by three astronauts and the first female launch director. Teachers had the opportunity to ask questions
during these presentations, and to attend a meet and greet after the sessions. Possibly the greatest highlight of the trip was getting to see the launch of the Space X CRS-18 Falcon 9 Rocket.
Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs for Charleston Schools, Susan Brown stated, “It was a once in a lifetime experience. It was truly amazing.”
The teachers took a great deal from this experience. From the astronaut presentations, they learned the importance of a diverse education. The astronauts all came from various backgrounds and skill sets. Going forward from this trip, the educators plan to use what they have learned in future lessons and community outreach programs. The overall message for the trip that the educators are bringing back to the district is the inspirational phrase, “be greater than average”.