White Plains teacher returns from space camp
by Brian Anderson
Jul 08, 2013 | 3341 views |  0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Krystal Campbell, right, and another teacher pose in front of a space shuttle in Huntsville. (Submitted photo)
Krystal Campbell, right, and another teacher pose in front of a space shuttle in Huntsville. (Submitted photo)
This fall, Krystal Campbell’s students will get to talk to someone who’s walked on the moon – or at least simulated of walking on the moon.

The White Plains Middle School sixth-grade science teacher last week participated in Honeywell Educators at Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Or, as Campbell describes it, space camp for adults.

“When I was little I always wanted to go to space camp,” Campbell said. “So to get the chance now, that was so cool.”

Campbell, one of only two Alabama teachers to attend this year’s program, spent five days participating in astronaut simulation training, including completing moon missions – a project she said she hopes to bring back to her White Plains classroom in September.

“What sixth graders don’t know a lot about is the moon,” Campbell said, describing a project she has planned which will get her students to form “lunar communities,” working on logistics of how they would perform day-to-day activities if they lived on the moon.

“It’s highly integrative,” she said. “It integrates the students’ creativity; they’ll have to do math in order to make a budget; it’s very problem-solving orientated.”

In the fall, Campbell, 35, will start her second year at White Plains, and fourth year as an educator. She said while science wasn’t her first love in life, her new career in teaching has opened her eyes to the subject. She said she hopes her enthusiasm catches on among her students.

“I got to get this stuff straight from the source and that makes me excited to teach it,” Campbell said about the Honeywell program. “And hopefully that excitement will rub off on the students. They’re sixth-graders, so excitement is good.”

According to a press release from Honeywell, the program trains middle school teachers across the country in simulated astronaut training. This year’s program included more than 100 teachers from 27 countries. The camp is designed to give teachers the experience of using innovative teaching strategies to bring back to their students.

“Inspiring students begins with inspiring teachers,” said Tom Buckmaster, president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, in a press release. “This gives teachers an engaging and unforgettable learning experience that heightens their ability to become even more effective educators.”

Campbell said she heard about the program last year through a student, and hopes more teachers get involved.

“I hope people hear my story and get excited,” she said. “More teachers need to know about this.”

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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