By Tina Ray/ParaglideJuly 1, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - When Kelli Charles, a math and science teacher at Irwin Intermediate School, attended space camp June 11 to 17 in Alabama, she learned an important lesson conveyed more by experience than by reading the pages of a book - because of weightlessness, it is more difficult to navigate in space than on earth.
Charles was one of 220 teachers from more than 2,000 applicants chosen by Honeywell to attend the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, she said. There, she also took land and water survival training and participated in scenario-based space missions.
"It was a great experience. It's a really good overview of what actually happens with a shuttle launch," said Charles, 31, who has been teaching for nine years.
Charles said she
enjoyed camp and received a lot of material to bring back to her students, but next year, she plans to take it a step farther and send a student to the lesson.
"I have approached my principal about sending a kid there next summer," she said.
Tim Howle, the principal at ISS, said that Charles is an awesome teacher.
"She is real hands-on. She gets the kids involved and very engaged," Howle said. "She makes learning fun."
Role-playing as a flight commander and as a flight engineer were fun activities that Charles said she enjoyed most at space camp. She had to troubleshoot potential problems that could arise with a launch, including problems with controls or batteries.
Another lesson Charles learned that could be germane to her students'
Learning, she said, takes focus and intensity.