Middlebrook School Science Teacher Stephen Lemoine got to make repairs in simulated zero gravity while comparing notes with other teachers this year.
Stephen Lemoine "joined teachers from around the world "on a learning adventure of a lifetime this June during the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy program," according to a press release.
He traveled to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., in the summer. Honeywell awarded 210 scholarships to teachers from 27 countries and 42 states to attend its simulated astronaut training and professional development program.
"The hydraulics would bounce us around. We got the experience of shuttle pilots, engineers. We had the spacesuits on. We had everything," he said.
Working in a microgravity atmosphere made repairs much more difficult.
"You take off with the wrench," he joked. "You had to lock yourself in."
The teachers participated in 45 hours of professional development, as well as an intensive educator curriculum focused on space science and exploration. Each teacher also underwent simulated astronaut training including:
· A high-performance jet simulation
· Scenario-based space mission
· Land and water survival training
· Interactive flight dynamics programs
"It was a great experience," Lemoine said. "I got to interact with teachers from around the world. We all had the same concerns for our kids, for education." Lemoine also runs the observatory at Middlebrook School.
The program will help his students too.
"Only about one-third of 8th graders have the skills to perform even basic mathematic computations. Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy, created in partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in 2004, is designed to address these trends in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education by providing teachers with new technical skills and teaching techniques that help motivate students not only in the U.S. but around the world," according to a statement.
Since the program’s inception, more than 1,755 teachers have attended, it added.