Space School Program Camp
Over the recent school break, I had the privilege of taking six students from Years 8 and 9 on the HASSE (Houston Association for Space and Science Education) Junior Space School Program. This expedition took over 90 students from a number of schools in the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australia (AGSA) to the USA. The girls were immersed in a two-week program that not only further developed their curiosity about space exploration and rocketry, but also encouraged independent learning, goal setting, and critical and creative thinking.
The Space School Program packed in many amazing activities and used the context of space to teach effective core skills whilst also providing students with valuable and memorable experiences. Our first week in Houston, Texas, was spent discovering the city, touring NASA’s facilities, meeting astronauts and aerospace engineers and discovering more about the applications of STEM content in space missions. Our girls also had the opportunity to build new friendships with other AGSA students and workshop effective habits to apply in their everyday lives. In the final week the girls travelled to Huntsville, Alabama, where they experienced a regimented space camp, including mission simulations, rocket construction, and some fun in the Multi-Axis Trainer and 1/6th Gravity Chair.
As we move into an increasingly digital age, young people are entering a future where traditional jobs are automated and higher-level skills in technology, critical and creative thinking and communication are required. Programs such as the HASSE Junior Space School Program are a fun and engaging way to encourage and reinforce the STEM skills and effective habits that we value at Loreto Normanhurst, which are vital for our young women stepping into an unpredictable future.
Mrs Sonia Solo
Teacher of Science
In the winter holidays, I was lucky enough to have attended the HASSE Space School for a two-week long camp. In the first week we stayed in Houston and we dissected a shark, had dinner with an astronaut, had a lot of presentations, went to a cell lab where we conducted experiments and solved a murder mystery.
In the second week we travelled to Huntsville. We received hands-on astronaut training and participated in a variety of simulators during our free time, such as Space Shot and G Force. Other simulators were the 1/6 Gravity Moon Walk and the Multi Axis Trainer. During the second week we completed two missions. This was probably one of my favourite highlights for the trip. For the first one I was in mission control (Capcom), and the second I was commander of the space shuttle. We also spent a night under fireworks for the 4th of July and made rockets and launched them.
This experience has made a big impact on my life and I will never forget this amazing experience and all the amazing people I met.
Veronica Vella (Year 8)
Whilst we were in Houston one of my favourite places we visited was the Johnson Space Centre where we had a tram tour which included a walk-through of the mock-up facility where the astronauts train, the original mission control centre, saw a real Saturn V rocket, listened to the astronaut Michael Foreman talk and we touched a real moon rock. Overall, the whole trip was an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
Paris Redenbach (Year 8)
My most favourite experiences were doing all the activities that made you feel like you were up in space and doing the missions. These were my favourite because they were the most interactive parts and they were the most fun as well. Some of the activities we did were the 1/6th Gravity Chair, Space Shot and the Multi Axis Trainer known as MAT.
The experiences that I had were amazing. When I came back home on the last week of the holidays I reflected on the value of the trip. I realised that there was more to the trip than just the fun and exciting things but also how we learnt so much about the culture of America and the whole history of NASA and all the missions they have done to space. This whole experience has given me a new point of view…The entire experience has really made a big impact on my life and makes me a better person because of it.
Grace Hawkins-Munro (Year 8)
Not only did we learn about STEM subjects but I was also able to learn about different habits and thinking strategies that I can integrate into my daily life to help me in school and later on. Something I have taken from this trip is to never give up and when you fail to look for the mistakes you made so that you can change them for the better in the future. I had a lot of fun on this trip and would recommend it to others thinking about going.
Isabella Vigers (Year 8)
As soon as I saw the presentation on space camp I knew that this was going to be a great opportunity – and I was right. On this journey I learnt amazing facts about space and about all the missions up to the moon and future missions to Mars.
To start off our first week, we met astronauts and went to the Johnson’s Space Centre where we heard a talk from an astronaut who has been to space three times. We also got an opportunity to dissect a shark which was pretty gross but also really educational getting to learn about all the parts of a shark…We also got to experience a baseball game which was a blast.
In our second week we got to build and launch our own rockets. The activities were so fun as we had a chance to walk like a spaceman and spin around and around without becoming dizzy. My favourite activity overall would be our missions where we got to work as an operator in the mission control or go aboard the shuttle and make sure that we performed our mission correctly and safely.
As an exciting part of our trip we experienced fireworks for the 4th of July celebration where our team started the Aussie chant which led to a bigger chant as more groups joined us.
As the journey came to an end it was time to say goodbye to America and the friends we had made. I will forever be grateful for this experience and the friends who made this trip so memorable.
Abigail Balian (Year 8)