6 UAE teach­ers to take part in week-long Nasa pro­gramme

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Sar­wat Nasir The teach­ers will ex­pe­ri­ence 45 hours of class­room, lab­o­ra­tory and field-train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. sar­wat@khalee­j­times.com

dubai — Six UAE teach­ers will be head­ing off to an all-ex­pense-paid Nasa space camp trip to the US as part of a pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

Dur­ing the pro­gramme, the teach­ers will ex­pe­ri­ence 45 hours of class­room, lab­o­ra­tory and field­train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. This in­cludes sim­u­lated astro­naut train­ing ex­er­cises, high-per­for­mance jet sim­u­la­tions, sce­nario-based space mis­sions, cod­ing, rocket build­ing and fly­ing pro­grammes that will pro­vide lessons for them to bring back to their stu­dents in the UAE.

The week-long trip to the US Space and Rocket Cen­tre has been set up by a soft­ware-in­dus­trial com­pany, Honey­well, and is a part of their Honey­well Ed­u­ca­tors at Space Academy (HESA).

Last year, four other teach­ers were se­lected to at­tend the pro­gramme at the space cen­tre. Since they’ve re­turned, they have been ap­ply­ing what they have learned into their class­rooms.

Two of these teach­ers spoke to Khaleej Times on how they are im­ple­ment­ing their new space knowl­edge into their class.

“In my class­room, I al­ways try to re­late the ideas and top­ics to other dis­ci­plines. More­over, I al­ways present in­for­ma­tion in the con­text of space,” Lara Chouman, a teacher at Al It­ti­had Pri­vate School in Dubai, said.

“For ex­am­ple, what hap­pens to hu­man body sys­tems dur­ing a sud­den space shut­tle land­ing? I in­tro­duced the chal­lenges we did in Huntsville to the team I work with, and I did it in my class­room as well. I de­signed a project-based chal­lenge

I al­ways try to re­late the ideas and top­ics to other dis­ci­plines. More­over, I al­ways present in­for­ma­tion in the con­text of space.” Lara Chouman, a teacher at the Al It­ti­had Pri­vate School in Dubai

in the school and sci­ence depart­ment where stu­dents had to pre­pare a dis­play for the dif­fer­ent plan­ets with all the char­ac­ter­is­tics and tex­tures on each planet in an in­ter­ac­tive way. Fi­nally, I in­tro­duced as­tron­omy to the art depart­ment where we are start­ing next aca­demic year a pro­gramme for as­tron­omy, origami and art.

“The fact that we in­ter­acted with ed­u­ca­tors from around the globe and we had the chance to share best prac­tices was def­i­nitely a high­light. An­other mind-blow­ing as­pect of the trip was the au­then­tic­ity of all the ac­tiv­i­ties we per­formed at space camp. Ev­ery­thing was de­signed to make us live the life of as­tro­nauts.”

Buthaina Aban­dah, a teacher at the Ap­plied Tech­nol­ogy High School, Abu Dhabi, said the space camp has helped ad­vance her knowl­edge in space. She said these skills are es­sen­tial in help­ing the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion learn more about the world out­side.

“The goal in the UAE is to go to Mars and the astro­naut pro­gramme. We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity here to make space the fo­cus for fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of Emi­ratis,” she said. “This is a good start and by do­ing these kinds of space camps it re­ally helps the teach­ers and stu­dents. The ex­pe­ri­ence we get is some­thing we can im­ple­ment into our daily lives, in class­rooms and our space clubs.”

The se­lected UAE teach­ers will join hun­dreds of teach­ers from around the world at the US Space & Rocket Cen­tre in Huntsville, Alabama, that pro­motes sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math (Stem) ed­u­ca­tion.

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