Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Going for it!

Best.  Day.  Ever.

Here is the back story ...

Last year I made it my goal to meet Chris Hadfield and have him come and talk to my school.  I am a self-proclaimed space geek and love all things Hadfield.  With his new celebrity and best-seller book he is even more popular than ever so, even though I did get to briefly meet him, I have to set the second part of this goal aside.  For now.

I have made a new goal.  Connect with a current Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, Skype, perhaps one day have a school visit, and eventually to be there to interact and support when the day comes for his own time in space.  So now I have achieved two of the four so far and am excited to see what the future may bring.

Last November I attended the ATA Science council conference and was delighted to find out that Canadian astronaut, Jeremy Hansen, would be a keynote speaker.  I read all I could and discovered so much about Hansen, Hadfield, and the CSA.  Through Twitter I interacted with Magalie Renaud from the Canadian Space Agency and was able to meet her and Jeremy face-to-face.  It was wonderful to ask him so many questions and pick Magalie's brain about what was out there for educators in regards to our Canadian Space Program.  She asked me if I had applied to have an astronaut speak to my class and, of course, I had.  A few months later I received an email from her letting me know that Jeremy was able to Skype with my class
  This past week and a half was busy getting the students and their questions ready and even doing a practice Skype with NASA.  We had heard that there was a possibility that the event would have to be rescheduled because the astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station were planning a space walk to repair a computer, and that our own Jeremy Hansen would be the Ground Intravehicular Officer.  It was explained to me that it would be like he is the conductor to the orchestra that is the symphony of space walking.  A pretty big deal!
Fortunately the space walk was scheduled for tomorrow so we were able to do our Skype after all.  (Please click HERE to watch the space walk live on April 23rd at 7:20am MST and listen for Jeremy's voice!).  All 80 kids and 5 teachers piled in to my classroom and the excitement was palpable.  What a great moment!

 Jeremy talked to us about his journey in becoming an astronaut including Air Cadets as a youth, being a CF-18 fighter pilot for the Canadian Air Force and finally being chosen to join the CSA as an astronaut.  He explained about the detailed training including going on caving expeditions, geology and research in the arctic, space walk simulations in space suits under water, and learning how to use the famous Canadarm.  He talked about his job and all of the experiences he has had so far with such joy and appreciation that I think it was very inspiring for my students who are starting to find and follow their own dreams.

Today is also Earth Day and he mentioned how aboard the ISS they have a really good view of our entire world and that it is important to care for it.  Wouldn't it be nice to see the world from way up there?  No borders or boundaries.  Just planet Earth.

 Jeremy talked about the future of the space program and how in our lifetime we will see a boom in scientific studies, commercial space flight, and new discoveries and technologies that these kids could very well be a part of.  He told them that no matter what their dreams are they need to find that thing they are passionate about and go for it with all that they have. 

He showed us two amazing videos that were distorted by our slow bandwidth.  I thought I'd re-post them for you all to see.

The last half was spent answering the plethora of questions the kids were itching to ask.  They wanted to know more details about his training, goals, challenges, and even fears.  I asked about his role in the space walk tomorrow, the role of social media in promoting specifically Canadian astronauts, and any photography tips he may have picked up.  Space selfie? 

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Jeremy for taking the time during such a busy and important week to talk to our class.  I know I found it very inspiring and know my students will never forget it.  I also want to thank the CSA and NASA for the continual educational support.  It is an exciting time to be a teacher!  Merci.  Thank you. 

La Nouvelle Beaumont News was there to cover the story.  They interviewed me and some of the kids for an article in an upcoming addition.  Keep an eye out!  Here is the picture they took.

What an adventure!  I am smiling so much my face hurts. 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your hard work so the kids could get to meet him and experience this! You have the best job :)