Two Oklahoma middle school teachers joined nearly 200 other educators at the annual Honeywell Educators at Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama.
Teachers from 26 countries and 36 states participated in learning activities centered around space exploration in order to help develop a better understanding of space science for educators to take back into their classrooms.
Melissa Lau of Piedmont Intermediate School and Janet Johnson of Clyde Boyd Middle School took part in the same space simulations NASA astronauts must complete during the course of their training.
Johnson, who has been teaching for 18 years, admits the week-long camp changed her ideas of space science and technology as well as inspired her to incorporate more space science activities within her lesson plans.
“We got to learn about different missions and how they are starting to work on Mars. I thought that NASA was gone because of the funding, but that's not true. I want these kids to get that interest,” Johnson said.
Many educators apply for a scholarship to attend the camp and Johnson along with a small group of educators were awarded the program's grant.
Johnson says the grant is important because it provides incentive for teachers to attend the program that may help shape a future generation of aspiring scientists.
“If Honeywell hadn't paid for me I would have never gone. I wouldn't have paid for myself to go. So that really provided an opportunity for me to do something I wouldn't ever have done,” Johnson said.
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