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September 16, 2014

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Notes from Honeywell Space Academy:

                                                By Dan Howard - West Genesee Middle School Technology Teacher


NASA Space CampThe adventure is about to begin. Off to the Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. I am going to do my best to write a daily journal so my family, friends, and students can keep up on the activities of the day.            

If you know me, you know I am not a journalist and my thoughts may be somewhat random.  So, here we go...  


Thursday, June 28 – I need lots of time to reflect on this astonishing week.  It has been the experience of a lifetime.  Let me just say it truly was an amazing experience.  Thank you Honeywell and your employees whose contributions make this all possible and the USSRC.  Let me leave you with this statement from the US Space & Rocket Center:

  “I was an astronaut and traveled into space. I was an engineer and built a rocket. I was a scientist and performed experiments on the ISS. I walked on the surface of the moon. I experienced 3 Gs. I landed a Rover on Mars. I built a Lunar Colony. I designed an interplanetary Robot. I traveled around the world. I rode a Space Shot. What did you do this summer?”  

Space Camp Huntsville, Alabama  

Mission Complete, signing off – Dan Howard  

Wednesday, June 27 - No quiz tonight.   I’m way past tired and cannot come up with a quality question for tonight.

space camp8Today was a much needed slower pace.  We all attended a seminar on living in space.  Think of everything you need to do, from brushing your teeth to sleeping, eating and the rest.  Now think about how you could do it in zero gravity.  That’s what the astronauts had to do and NASA had to figure out.  We also were taught how to separate DNA form cells.  It's pretty cool, and it's not hard.  You can do it with common household items. (pictured at left is our space monkey holding items needed for our DNA exercise.)

Spacecamp10The BIG EVENT of the day was graduation.  The US rocket and Space Center put on a very nice and very impressive ceremony.  We all wore our blue space suits and marched across the stage to receive our certificates.  Then they had a super dinner under the Saturn V Rocket.  All I can say is WOW!!! (Pictured at right  are the four men on our team.  Front - left - from Portugal, right- US, Back left - Me, Back right- South Africa.)

One more day and I’ll be home.  Lets hope the weather is good and easy travel. 

 –Mr. Howard

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 -Today’s activities included launching our solid fuel rockets, designing and building a space station on the moon, testing and building a water filtration system, going to the IMAX theater to watch the movie “Junk in Space”, and then the highlight of the day... a presentation by Ed Buckbee.

Ed BucklbeeEd Buckbee, an author, lecturer, space advocate and director emeritus, has been associated with the U.S. space program for four decades. Buckbee began his space career in 1959 when America’s first Mercury astronauts were selected. He attended the launches of Alan Shepard and John Glenn and was present when the Apollo astronauts lifted-off for the moon landings. He continues to be associated with America’s space program as a senior advisor to NASA.

His presentation was the best.  He spoke about the history of the Space Program from the beginning to today, Not the stuff you read in the history books, it was the stuff you never hear about.  One comment was about the movie Apollo 13, how well it was done and  how accurate it really was.  For those of you who have been in my 7th grade Technology class, you understand the importance of  Apollo 13 in technology.  Also, I will have an autographed copy of his book “Space Cowboys”.

Yesterday, I forgot the quiz… So, here’s today's… How many missions did Alan Shepard and John Glenn go on? (total).  Which one, Alan Shepard or John Glenn was scheduled to be the first man to walk on the moon, but problems with his ears stopped that from happening?  How old was John Glen when he flew on the shuttle?

I’ll be back tomorrow, graduation day!

spacecamp6Monday, June 25, 2012 - Today started out in the Astronaut Simulator Training Room. Here we simulated walking on the moon, used their version of a hovercraft in which you could move the seat in all directions but up, and finally a Gyro machine that spun you round and round in all directions.            

spacecamp7Then came the Orion Mission, a 2 ½ hour session, simulating a moon mission.  My part, mission specialist 6, of the mission was to fix a damaged space station and then bring it back on line so our team could live and survive on the moon.            

Finally, we spent time in the Saturn V Hall.  It is amazing, they have the first Saturn V rocket ever build inside this building totally restored.  The rocket is a football field and 1/3 long. Plus, all sorts of items from the space programs from Mercury through the Space Shuttle.  Personal items from Neil Armstrong and many of the other Astronauts. Cool.            

The other neat thing about Space Academy is the development of our team and how we learn how to work together and trust each other so quickly.  I’ll be using many of these activities in class.            

I could go on for ever, but it is late and rest is needed… Mr. H.

Sunday June 24, 2012 - Quiz time.  The team I’m on “Team Zarya”. 

What in space is named Zarya?  Today team Zarya started in Area 51.  

flight simulatorWhere is area 51 in the United States and what is its significant in the history of space?  At area 51 we participated in a team building activity on the low ropes course, then moved onto our shuttle mission simulation.  I was in Mission Control in charge of propulsion (rocket engines). We had a successful mission, the orbiter made it back to earth safely.  We’ll find out how we compared to other team later in the week.

37 states, 19 countries are represented this week.              

nasa signIn the afternoon we toured Aviation Park, then the fun began… Team Zarya participated in a “Zip Line”.  The activity simulated a parachute landing in water. What it is … you climb a 40 foot tower strap into a parachute harness and then slide down a cable into the pond below.  And on a 100 degree day, the water was excellent.  Finally, we began preparation for our mission to Mars. This time I’ll be a Lunar Specialist attempting to fix a damaged space station. 


spacecamp1Saturday, June 23, 2012 - Had another interesting day traveling.  I arrived at Space Camp about 4:00 p.m.  Met my group members.  They literally come from all over the world. 

Started building a solid fuel rocket.  Which I get to bring home, should be interesting getting through security with my luck. 

Ate dinner and went on a tour of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Wow.  It is amazing!!!  Unless you see it in person you just can’t understand the Space Program history and collection they have.  (pictures tomorrow??).  Speaking of history I did miss meeting the Asrtronaut speaker this morning, but I still have a chance of meet at least one, lets hope. Then back to the dorms and finally rest.             

Until tomorrow... Mr. H  

Friday, June 22- Travel Day - The day is perfect.  The weather is perfect.  I’m through security, and yes I was randomly selected for an extra search. The flight starts, the sky is clear, as we fly towards Washington, DC the sky turns to a carpet of bright white cotton.  Slowly the cotton closes in around us and starts to turn dark and darker. the airplane starts to bounce around, up and down. The thunderstorms start, but remake it, we land safely. 

Off to the terminal, check the board… flight CANCELLED!!  Bummer.  Get in line for customer service to make arrangements to get to Huntsville.  Four hours later I’ve got new boarding passes.  Fly to Chicago at 6:00 a.m.  then wait until 1:30 pm and get to Huntsville by 3:00 p.m.  Only a day late.  But wait, its 8:30 p.m. Friday night. What to do?  I know… find a Hotel and try to get some sleep… done, or at least the Hotel part… sleep not so much.   It’s 3:30 a.m. and time to get ready to head back to the airport. Tomorrow (today) is full of promise.            

To be continued...  

Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 24 hours until take off and still have a long list of items to take care of...little things like packing, going to the bank, printing boarding passes, and of course finishing up at school (Mr. Dunham, don’t worry I’ll get’er done).

Random #1- As my excitement builds, so does my anxiety.  Being at camp will be exciting and it will be a fantastic experience.  Think about it, I’ll be meeting and interacting with people from all over the world, experiencing activities very few people get to.  I hope to meet Homer Hickman, an engineer on the Space Shuttle and an inspiration to anybody with a dream and desire to succeed. 

Students- assignment #1 – get a copy and read his book "Rocket Boys". (Quiz in September).  I also should meet at least one shuttle astronaut.  How cool is that, to meet and talk to someone who has actually been in space. 

Take a deep breath… getting there is another story.  I have not flown since 2002, and that was with several other people.  Yes, airport security did a thorough search, not a strip search... but close.    

More tomorrow...


FMA Live! Visits WGMS/Honeywell Announces NASA Space Camp Attendee

Students Get Excited About Math and Science Through Hip-Hop Music and Dance; Local Teacher Chosen to Attend Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy


Honeywell and NASA’s award-winning science education program FMA Live! brought science to life for nearly 400 West Genesee and Camillus middle school students on Monday, April 1.

Created by Honeywell and NASA in 2004, FMA Live!  is an award-winning, hip-hop science education program designed to excite middle school students about science and math by teaching Sir Isaac Newton’s Three Laws of Motion in an innovative, entertaining, and memorable way.  Named for his second law of motion (Force = Mass x Acceleration), FMA Live! uses professional actors, original songs, music videos, and interactive science demonstrations to teach middle school students Newton’s three laws of motion and universal law of gravity.

“Our partnership with NASA provides students with real-world, hands-on experiences that create excitement about career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math and inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers,” said John McAuliffe, Honeywell Syracuse Program Director.

FMA Live! will reach more than 16,000 students during its 10-week, 20-city tour of the United States. The program, which is completely underwritten by Honeywell, has already traveled 92,700 miles, covering 48 U.S. states and Canada, reaching 297,300 students at 844 schools. This is the third time that the tour has visited West Genesee Middle School.

During each FMA Live! performance, students, teachers, and school administrators interact with professional actors in front of a live audience to experience Newton’s laws firsthand.  A giant sticky wall is used to demonstrate inertia; go-carts driven across the stage illustrate action and reaction; and “extreme” wrestling and a huge soccer ball show that force is determined by mass multiplied by acceleration. All three of Newton’s laws are demonstrated simultaneously when a futuristic hover chair collides with a gigantic cream pie.

space camp teacherAt the start of the first West Genesee Middle School FMA Live! performance, Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe surprised West Genesee Middle School teacher Daniel Howard with a Space and Rocket Center flight suit to recognize his recent acceptance to attend Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., this summer.  

Created in partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in 2004, Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy is a professional development program designed to help teachers move beyond the standard math and science curriculum by providing innovative teaching techniques and simulated astronaut training.   

“We are fortunate to have such a committed and inspiring teacher like Mr. Howard represent Central New York at Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy this year,” said McAuliffe. “His enthusiasm to bring innovative teaching techniques to the classroom will encourage student interest in science and technology.”

“To be one of 200 teachers chosen from around the world to participate in Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy is a really high honor,” said Howard. “I’m hoping to learn more team building skills that my students can use and get them excited about engineering, science, math, and technology.”

Since the program’s inception, Honeywell and its employees have sponsored more than 1,650 scholarships for teachers from 45 countries and 50 U.S. states to participate in the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy program.

“West Genesee has a great tradition of sending teachers to Space Academy,” said West Genesee Central School District Superintendent Dr. Christopher Brown. “Their commitment to their students and enthusiasm for education puts them in a position where they are able to apply and receive an award like this.”

Click here or on the collage below to view a photo gallery of event...

FMA Live


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