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Enroute Bitterroot

Mission Possible

Jessica Anderson

Normal. It's a term used to describe the usual. In education, usual usually means a practice that has persisted for an extended period. However, it doesn't mean it's acceptable. This week I'm choosing, as Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year would say, to feel the fear, but to do it anyway. 

Kibo to the Moon and Back

The Lunar Mission was my favorite part of the day. During the mission, we were tasked with launching a rocket with four astronauts and two crew members. These four astronauts were sent to the Moon as replacements for the four currently working on the Moon (I was one of them). While they were traveling, the four astronauts living in Rising Star were completing remote repairs on the capsule, repairing solar panels, and conducting science experiments. My particular job was to check for burn marks on power supply cables, change out empty tanks of nitrogen and oxygen, and retrieve a flash drive from a rover on the Moon and examine its pictures. I worked with my teammate, Yosmeny Urueta, a government employee from Colombia. We had a great time working together in the "white suits".

After the astronauts had completed tasks on the Moon, we navigated the Moon surface to Altaris. Altaris is the spacecraft that docks with Orion to bring the astronauts home from space. Luckily, we had a knowledgeable crew, commander and pilot, and CAPPCOM to guide us all the way back. It feels good to be on Earth's surface again! ;)

In reflection, our mission exemplifies the collaboration and comradery our team displays on a daily basis. There was no room for fear, only support. I am truly blessed to have a network of educators who make everyone on the team feel as if they can achieve even the most fearful of activities. Team Kibo rocks!

If you're interested in hearing first-hand how successful Yosmeny and I were on our mission, check out the video below:

Team Building

Along with the mission, we completed two team building activities. The first activity was one that I did as a camper at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp as a young child; floating blocks over a moat to get to the other side. As a team (we changed our name to team Obik for this challenge), we used consistent communication and collaboration to get all eight members of our team across the moat without waking the dragon. We overcame challenges and worked cohesively to complete this mission. 

Our second mission was to move three tennis balls from one bucket to another. Unfortunately, the only way to transport the balls was with three different sized ropes. We were not authorized to touch the balls or bucket, and we were not allowed within a certain distance of the final dumping ground. Fortunately, we had some skilled rope tiers and an understanding of the forces needed to drop the balls in the final bucket. This was my favorite challenge of the two!  

Below is a video of our birthday celebration for Anna Morris, 2016 Mississippi Teacher of the Year. I've never been to a sweater birthday party...

Reflections

Our missions today reminded me that Space Camp is all about facing fears, trying new things, and embracing the importance of community. Normalizing fear is essential for surviving at space camp, and is a lesson I will continue to share as I navigate new territory as a Blended Learning Instructional Coach. 

Stay tuned, Space Camp isn't over yet...