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the ruyton reporter

Space Camp

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

(STEM) are crucial fields when it comes to driving

innovation. Three-quarters of the fastest growing

occupations require significant mathematics or science

preparation. At Ruyton we are constantly researching and

implementing initiatives to provide our students with the

skills and knowledge that will allow them confidently to

enter these occupations. One such initiative was the

opportunity for students to attend the Space Camp STEM

Tour in the September holidays, 2015. The five-night

programme at the Advanced Space Academy at the US

Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama enabled

students to participate in hands-on drills and also to learn

about the mental and physical demands for astronauts,

engineers and technologists.

Missions provided the students with the opportunity to

improve teamwork, leadership and decision making skills.

Specialist workshops included Space Suit Theory and

Design, Space Physiology, Scuba Space Walk Training,

Aeronautic Design, Jet Aircraft Simulations, Orbital

Mechanics, Jet Propulsion, Wilderness Survival and Living

in Space. The group then travelled to Washington DC to

explore the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and

other significant sites. The final destination of the Tour

was Orlando, Florida. The Kennedy Space Centre allowed

students to see the relevance of the skills and knowledge

they had acquired during the Advanced Space Academy

Programme and also how they had been utilised in the

American Space Programme. Lunch with an Astronaut

provided a fascinating insight into the career of a true

Space Scientist. The girls returned to Australia equipped

with a new appreciation of the importance and

application of STEM in so many areas of life, both

now and into the future.

Mrs Susan Fryer,

Dean of Science

Attending Space Camp 2015 was a wonderful

opportunity to learn about the science involved

in sending people into space. The Advanced Space

Academy had a range of special activities for us to learn

about the Physics, Biology and Chemistry involved in

all aspects of space flight. Scuba diving was a great

way to understand the microgravity that astronauts

experience in space. Rides, such as the Space Shot

and Gravitron, gave us an idea of the forces with which

astronauts are confronted when being launched into

space. By using the 1/6 Gravity Chair attached to

springs on the roof, we were able to simulate

movement on the moon. We learnt that a side-

jumping motion was more effective for getting

from point A to point B.

The Multi-Axis Trainer was a small chair rotating on

three axes, to demonstrate the pitch, roll and yaw of

the space craft when it is in space. These three axes

rotated in random directions, switching paths

simultaneously at rapid speeds. We expected to feel

sick during this experience, but, in fact, once in the

chair, the centre of gravity was at the stomach.

Simulators were part of our required training at Space

Camp. These were usually part of our missions, as we

took on roles as members of Mission Control, or were

assigned to the crew on board The Orbiter or The

International Space Station (ISS.) We each had specific

roles, as in true space flight. Members of Mission

Control had the responsibility to ensure that the

astronauts in the Orbiter and ISS were able to take

off and land safely and follow required procedures

accurately. Extra vehicular activities were carried out

whilst we were fully dressed in space suits, conducting

repairs to the spacecraft. We had a number of practice

missions leading up to our final mission, which served

as our ‘exam’ to graduate from Space Camp. In the final

three-hour mission numerous challenges and

unexpected events occurred and we were required

to solve the problems to ensure the survival of all and

return safely to Earth. This was very challenging but it

provided us with an appreciation of what can actually

occur during space travel. It certainly improved our

problem-solving skills.

We also made fuel cells, designed protective suits and

ablative heat shields, designed and built rockets and

experienced many other challenges. One of most

exciting experiences at Space Camp was looking

through a telescope on a clear night to view Saturn

and its rings.

I am so thankful as a Ruyton Student to have had

the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world

with students and teachers and to be submerged in

the rich culture of technology and science behind

the scenes at the National Aeronautics and Space

Administration (NASA) Centre.

Meg Richards,

Year 11 (2015)

Student reflections on the new

Margaret McRae Centre

The orientation of the new rooms means you can

use them in multiple ways and allows for a more

inclusive environment.

The labs are full of great instruments we are able

to use in class.

The glass whiteboards and the TV screens are

really cool.

There are more opportunities to learn together

– it’s good for learning in groups.

I think the building is good because there are lots

of classrooms and open learning areas.

The layout of the tables and multiple screens/

whiteboards in the labs makes it feel like the whole

class is working together and it is easier to see the

boards. It makes me stay more focused in class and

I can become more confident in participating.

The round tables encourage discussion.

The teachers don’t have a big desk, which means

they can walk around and help us better.

There is a more learning-orientated vibe in the new

science labs and this makes me feel more organised

and focused.

Nurturing curiosity and creativity