Education Majors Explore Space to Bring it Back to the Classroom

HPU High Point University

The group is pictured after successfully completing the flight experience.

HPU High Point University

Ellie Tehan tests an Apollo-style space capsule.

HPU High Point University

Katie Hadley, Dr. Shirley Disseler, Maribeth Harris and Kelsey Clougherty suiting up for a NASA flight simulation.

HIGH POINT, N.C., May 14, 2013 – Future teachers from the School of Education at High Point University traveled to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. to dive into a subject they’ll be teaching children in the community about someday – space exploration and the laws of the universe.

In seven days, 10 students and two faculty members in the master’s in elementary education STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program learned about weight in space through scuba diving, studied rocketry, embarked on a flight simulation and suited up in certified NASA space suits for numerous other missions.

The purpose of the trip was to bring back knowledge of space exploration to their own classrooms, as well as several STEM day camps that the School of Education will host in the future.

“Our goal is to organize summer camps focused on STEM so local children can continue to learn even when school isn’t in session,” says Dr. Shirley Disseler, assistant professor of education. “Teachers with experiences on the subject at hand tend to have the greatest impact in the classroom. Our future teachers really learned how to implement space exploration, phases of the moon, astronomy, environmental science and much more into the state’s STEM curriculum and their own classrooms.”

The HPU students received praise from the Space and Rocket Center for their dedication to immersing themselves in a subject that can change a student’s life.

“I have been working with teachers here for 17 years and I’ve seen thousands of teachers attend our program. I can honestly say your teachers rank with the best of those teachers,” said Dan Oates, education program manager at the Space and Rocket Center, in a note to faculty. “They have instilled in me a level of confidence for the future of our children. Thank you for sending all of them our way and we look forward to future opportunities to work with High Point University’s School of Education.”

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