3 Rs




Sunday, March 10, 2013

SEEC continued…

On Friday, Feb 8th, I arose and made coffee in my room. Once I bathed and shaved, I headed down to the lobby for the complimentary breakfast. I cooked a couple of waffles, grabbed some scrambled eggs and sausage, two freshly baked and warm rolls with butter and strawberry jam. I momentarily reflected back to my high school years. Breakfast was a hot cup of tea and maybe a slice of toast since both my parents left for work before I took the bus for school. And now I was eating like a king. Life is good.

The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Satoshi Furukawa, a JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) astronaut. On June 7th, 2011, he launched on a Soyuz TMA-21 to the ISS where he spent 5 months as a crew member of Expedition 29. He explained his duties, experiments and experiences in fluent English.

I was off to my first session of the day, “Living and Working Together on the ISS” with Brian Ewenson. Brian just got started on his talk when a NASA employee handed him a cell phone. On the other end was Chris Hadfield calling from the ISS. How cool is that? He and Brian talked for about a minute and we all made sure to say “Goodbye Chris” to briefly mark our little place in this historic event. Brian is Canadian and now lives in Texas (see http://www.brianewenson.com/ for an explanation of what inspired him to seek a career in aerospace). He states: “I’ve known Chris for the past twenty years.” And he admitted that he got goose bumps just talking with Chris. It wasn’t until later that I learned that he had trained Chris for his first trip to the MIR.

Brian gave an inspirational talk and emphasized a recurring theme that I’ve heard many times before: Cooperation. He discussed the opportunities and challenges crews from 16 countries working together experienced. He especially highlighted Expedition 34/35 of which Chris Hadfield was involved. Brian pointed out the Chris will add another “first” to his list of firsts:

• First Canadian to enter the Russian Space Station Mir

• First Canadian to do a spacewalk

• First Canadian to control the Canadarm

• First Canadian to command the International Space Station.

After lunch, I took in the “Return to the Moon in Your Classroom.” There were many hands-on activities. There was a new twist on the moon cratering lesson that I’ve seen done in classes. Aluminum trays were lined with crumpled chunks of graham crackers (or chocolate chip cookies). A thin layer of sand was sprinkled over the top and we had to drop various objects into the tray from the same height to see which displaced the most material to form a crater. We used dice, tennis ball, rubber ball, odd shaped plastic pieces. We smoothed the surface over again and threw the objects into the tray at a 60 degree them 45 degree angle to see which displaced the most material in the base to create a crater. Different groups got different results depending how hard they threw the various objects. It was a great experiment that you could do with children from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

The final session of the day was “When You Wish Upon a Space Station.” Dee Mock of Baylor and Christine Graham McKinney of ISD kept all 25 of us moving as we went from one activity to the next designed for K – 2. I took this workshop because I’d like to design a workshop for Primary school children that gets them involved in space activities. More on this later.

To be continued…

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