Thursday, September 21, 2006

I spent 10 days at Space Camp and learned more about what it means to be a teacher and more about myself than I have in many years of professional development. I learned that when under incredible stress, I tend to forget to look at other options-- I develop tunnel vision. Also when under stress, I forget to just relax and this leads to that tunnel vision as well.

I learned that wonder can come regardless of the level of experience. I was one of the few non-science teachers that attended the Boeing-sponsored Teachers' in Space Camp and often felt out of place and as if I had taken someone else's spot. Yet, each night in my room I reflected and realized that you don't have to know it all to get excited about a sharing a topic with your students. It's the wonder and the passion and the excitement that you share that will inspire -- the rest is just the details. I had never made a rocket of any kind and the bottle rocket that was constructed by my group was the only one to stay in one piece during launch and "re-entry" (aka crashing to the earth).

On the last day, we launched rockets with gunpowder engines and once again, mine held together. It was amazing to sit under the trees in the 98 degree heat with 98 percent humidity (at 9am) and realize all that I had learned. I also lamented not getting into science earlier and never having found a teacher who turned me onto the wonders of nature and also never finding a history teacher who was focused on more than dates, places and battles to help me develop that type of historical thinking as well. Sad. I would have liked the journeys or to at least have that type of thinking and looking at the world in my arsenal of tools. I now wonder if I would have thought differently about the many camping trips that we had taken if I had been equipped with a more scientific and historic view.

I hope that from my experience at Space Campt that I will be able to help inspire some scientific and historical thinking so that my students will leave knowing a bit moer about a different way of viewing the world. How many geniuses have we overlooked because we didn't let them explore and didn't equip them with the necessary thinking tools to be successful.

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