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Space Foundation Brings Excitement of Space to 15 Chicago School Districts

Space Foundation Brings Excitement of Space to 15 Chicago School Districts The Space Foundation's education team, aided by veteran space shuttle astronaut Dr. Jim Reilly, brought the excitement of space and space education to teachers and administrators from 15 western Chicago-area school districts on Jan. 26. At a joint workshop of school administrators and teachers, Space Foundation aerospace education specialists Bryan DeBates, Bobby Gagnon, and Chrys Rheinbolt provided a day of space-based teacher training for some 50 teachers from throughout the western Chicago area, while Space Foundation Cheif Executive Officer Elliot Pulham and Vice President, Education Iain Probert briefed administrators on the full range of Space Foundation education programs . . . all aimed at bringing a sustained program of aerospace education to the major school districts of the western Chicago area. The space curriculum inspires students and teachers to build the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills that our nation so greatly needs.

Braving frigid temperatures and snow-blown streets, the full house of teachers and administrators built and launched straw rockets, studied NASA's Constellation program, reviewed NASA's Mars exploration programs, and even took a "spin" in a barany chair to experience the sensation of weightlessness. The teachers also did an astrobiology activity, created their own water filtration systems, built a space shuttle robotic arm end-effector, and simulated mining the moon for minerals. Participants were briefed on the upcoming Space Shuttle launch by Dr. Reilly, whose own mission, STS-117, closely mirrors that of the STS-119 mission set to launch from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station on Feb. 12.

Attending the workshop were 16 elementary, 9 middle, and 8 high school teachers which represented the following school districts:

  • Butler School District 53
  • Gower School District 62
  • Franklin Park School District 84
  • Komarek School District 94
  • Western Springs School District 101
  • La Grange North School District 102
  • Lyons School District 103
  • La Grange South School District 105
  • La Grange Highlands School District 106
  • Hinsdale School District 101
  • Lyons Township High School 204
  • ILL. Math and Science Academy
  • West 40 Regional Service Center 
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