Students Shoot for the Stars at U.S. Space & Rocket Center
The sky has no limit at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, which encourages kids to develop teamwork, leadership, technological and critical thinking skills.
It’s the year 2020, and technology has never been more prevalent. Today’s students will be interacting with technology their whole lives, in social and professional settings. A great way to prepare for skills both within and outside of technology is through the U.S Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This world-renowned facility hosts many different ways for students to explore STEM, space, life skills and history. With Space Camp programs, tours and exhibits the Rocket Center is the complete package for an impressive learning experience.
Exciting new things are happening for kids who embark on missions to Space Camp. Train for moon exploration in dynamic ways that require the use of leadership, teamwork and critical thinking. This six-day program fits in many activities geared toward an introduction to space travel and exploration. Astronaut hopefuls can train in space flight simulators and a 1/6th gravity chair while demonstrating their skills in group activities. Kids can live the dreams for the future through new asteroid deflection as well as Earth imaging. This technology uses satellites to provide up–to-date images of the Earth, providing important weather pattern information. Changes in the curriculum include a focus on NASA’s Artemis Program, an ambitious project that plans to put the first female astronaut and the next American man on the moon by 2024. The next leap in planet exploration comes after this mission in a goal to land astronauts on Mars, and Space Camp has missions to the Red Planet as well.
Technology is a central aspect of further exploration through the solar system, and Space Camp Robotics lets kids explore how engineering is integral to space exploration. In team building activities, campers are tasked with building robots that operate on land, in the air and underwater. Through these activities, kids develop the skills for engineering, programming, team building and design to apply to their future careers and everyday life. Accumulative contests test camper’s robots against other teams, encouraging hard work and teamwork in the spirit of friendly competition. These activities help kids understand there is more to space exploration than being an astronaut.
The different levels of this flight-based camp experience immerse students in a military-style experience of teamwork, leadership and flying skills. Aviation Challenge students learn what it takes to be a jet fighter pilot in aircraft simulators and a fun version of survival training. The focus of Aviation Challenge is to teach life skills through discipline and rigorous immersion in flight.
For those looking for an exciting field trip experience, the Rocket Center provides many different tours and activities for students. The Ultimate Field Trip package includes access to the museum’s exhibits and simulators as well as options for guided tours, themed labs for Pre-K through high school and shows in the state-of-the-art INTUITIVE® Planetarium. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can choose from field trips as well as overnight Space Camp programs and earn badges while learning about space exploration, aviation or robotics.
Other group options are a Youth Leadership Retreat, where students in grades 10-12 develop essential skills through challenge courses and teamwork through low and high ropes elements that include a zipline and climbing wall. Groups can also sign up for a SCUBA Experience and learn how astronauts train underwater to simulate a microgravity environment similar to a space walk. All these excursions through the Space Center help promote and educate the science behind space exploration and discovery.
New Arrivals in 2020
A new exhibit has just landed at the Center – Playing with Light. Try out the new features within by building a telescope with optics, experimenting with laser beams, playing around with light by mixing colors and trying out virtual color painting. These full-body discoveries will delight any student curious about the refractions around them.
After Playing with Light leaves in May, Map It! rolls in. This traveling exhibit exploring how mapping and navigation are used in everyday life will make its North American debut at the Rocket Center.
History in Space
Aside from the camps and group activities, the Rocket Center provides an immersive trip through the history of space exploration for all visitors. Some of the more than 1,500 space artifacts on display are the National Historic Landmark Saturn V moon rocket This dynamic test vehicle housed indoors in a space that also includes the Apollo 16 command capsule, a moon rock and an exhibit on the Lunar Excursion Module and Lunar Rover Vehicle. With historical, military and scientific significance, the exhibits at the Rocket Center encompass a wide range of subjects and interests for students.