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Teachers in space

Lake Middle School science teachers Kathryn Bartholomew and Logan Carstensen attended the space academy last month at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., where they participated in various simulations.1 / 2
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Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series on teachers' unique summer plans.

For two Woodbury teachers, the sky's the limit when it comes to finding unique classroom activities.

Lake Middle School science teachers Logan Carstensen and KathrynBartholomew went to space academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., last month.

Teacher activities included classroom, laboratory and field training exercises, which are linked to science and math teaching standards.

Each teacher also underwent real-life astronaut training including a high-performance jet simulation, scenario-based space missions, land and water survival training, and a state-of-the-art flight dynamics programs.

"We were up at 6:00 in the morning," Bartholomew said. "Our days were packed."

Going into space

Carstensen and Bartholomew participated in two different academies. Carstensen participated in the advanced academy since he had attended space camp in 2007.

In order to quality for the scholarship, Bartholomew had to write an essay explaining how she would use what she learned in her classroom.

"I wanted to go because it was going to be a really good opportunity to bring hands on activities back into my classroom," Bartholomew said. "I thought it would provide more real life examples of the topics we're covering in class -- make it more relatable for students."

Bartholomew was at the space academy June 23-27.

Carstensen had to submit a portfolio detailing how he has used what he learned in his first academy.

"The focus of the program is how can you use this in your classroom," said

Carstensen, who attended the space academy June 18-24.

Even though Carstensen and Bartholomew participated in different camps, they experienced many similar activities.

Some of the shared experiences - that could be brought back to the classroom - included building a thermal protection system out of aluminum foil, studying how various items function in zero gravity, DNA extraction, building model rockets and building thrust protection systems.

"It's really understanding how things work on earth versus in space," Bartholomew said.

Carstensen visited the Kennedy Space Center where he saw the Endeavor, Discovery and Atlantis space shuttles.

"It was pretty cool to be that close to things that most people will never get a chance to see," he said.

Both teachers said they really enjoyed meeting teachers from around the world and making connections with those teachers to follow up and see how they are using their space academy experiences in the classroom.

"I think it's really neat to meet teachers from all over the world," Bartholomew said, "Everyone was really focused on helping each other be a better more successful teacher."

Bringing space into the classroom

Both Carstensen and Bartholomew said the space academy was a very worthwhile and beneficial experience because it has given them some great idea on how to make science and math relatable to students.

"We're trying to get kids interested and excited about science and understand how it relates to real life," Bartholomew said. "Our experiences will help make things more relevant to students."

Carstensen and Bartholomew said they haven't pinpointed what lessons they will incorporate into their classrooms.

"I'll find ways to integrate it in," Carstensen said.

Carstensen said he hopes sharing his experiences will spark his students' interest in science.

"Too many kids are sitting playing video games and not being forced to be creative," he said. "The possibilities are there, we just need to get kids inspired to think outside the box."

Both teachers were able to attend because of scholarship from Honeywell international. Two-hundred-fifty teachers from 27 countries and 47 states participated in the program.

Teachers interested in participating in the Honeywell Educators program, contact Logan Carstensen at for more information.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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