For some students at Edward W. Bok Academy South, the start of the school year took on the flavor of an out-of-this-world experience!
The school participated in the “Space Docking Challenge,” a team project that helps simulate how astronauts move from their rocket to the International Space Station as a pilot navigates their space vehicle to a docking port.
Students worked together to move a PVC ring with a ball balanced on top (the astronauts) to dock with a larger ring (the ISS) placed on the ground. Like the dual joysticks that astronauts use to control the space station’s Canadarm2, students must move in harmony with each other and follow a precise and carefully-planned sequence or the docking process fails.
It wasn’t as easy it might have first looked. Our students had to use both mental and physical skills to make sure they could successfully complete their task, which is why this was such a nice back-to-school icebreaker for everyone. The difficulty of the task was easily adjusted for students’ abilities by lengthening or shortening strings or using a lighter or heavier ball.
Because our location is not far away from where NASA conducts launches, it’s particularly relevant and exciting for our students to relate their learning to space. The space program is continuing to prepare to explore new frontiers in the coming years, and we want our students to be a part of those new missions.