Melissa Melville remembers vividly her fourth-grade trip to Space Camp. Now, as a science teacher, she will attend the grown-up version.
Melville, a teacher at Kyrene Centennial Middle School in Ahwatukee, will undergo simulated astronaut training at the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy for a week next month. She was one of only 185 teachers from around the world to receive a full scholarship from Honeywell to attend.
Melville is not just looking at the trip as a fun, personal experience, although she admits there will be those times, but she will also use the information to become a better teacher. The way science is being taught in classrooms is changing, she says, and teachers have to stay relevant and find ways to hold their student’s interest.
“It’s looking at it in terms of things we don’t know in the context of what we already do,” Melville said. “I think that gets them interested. We are still teaching the context of the different subjects, but were looking at teaching it in hands-on ways and exploring the relevant issues in science.”
The Space Academy takes place at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Melville will receive 45 hours of professional development involving simulated space missions, land and water survival training, and interactive flight dynamics programs.
She is currently the science chair at Centennial and works closely with teachers from other schools to improve the way science is taught in the classroom.
“It’s nice to be involved in where we want to go as a district,” Melville said. “We talk about science jobs all the time in the classroom. And I am constantly encouraging them to find more information themselves.”
She builds interest through hands-on projects such as having the students build a model house and through the use of different materials, make the inside 10 degrees cooler than the outside.
“A lot of what we do is based on engineering and design,” Melville said. “The projects are designed to encourage creative thinking.”
She will be traveling to Huntsville for the academy at the end of June.
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