ShareThis Page

Baldwin-Whitehall teacher heads to Houston for space exploration

| Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
J.E. Harrison Middle School science teacher Debbie Reynolds sits for a photo inside the school's simulator classroom Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Reynolds was one of 36 teachers from across the country selected to take part in the Science Educator Expedition Crew program, an outreach of the Space Exploration Educator Conference in Houston, Texas next month.

When it comes to science, technology, engineering and math, Debbie Reynolds always is looking for ways to help students be prepared for the future.

The J.E. Harrison Middle School teacher was accepted to participate in the Space Educator Expedition Crew program, an outreach of the Space Exploration Educator Conference in Houston next month. Reynolds was one of 36 teachers from across the country to be selected to the crew program, which will be held Feb. 8 to 11.

She learned about the conference from her sister, who is a teacher and lives in Galveston, Texas. Because the Baldwin-Whitehall school board does not pay for teacher conferences out of state, Reynolds said staying with her sister was a big reason why she applied. The Space Center will cover the cost of the leadership program.

While her sister will attend only the conference, Reynolds wanted to learn more so she could add to the programs used in the school's IKS Highlander simulator. The application process was intense, she said.

Reynolds had to make a three-minute promotional video, in which she showcased the school's simulator. The school simulator has different missions for each grade level, and each mission ties into curriculum. The space mission ties in health for the sixth grade, science for the seventh grade and science and social studies for eighth grade.

She needed to submit a resume and a letter of recommendation from Principal Jill Fleming-Salopek, as well as answer five essay questions.

“They wanted to get a good feel of the teachers they were selecting,” said Reynolds, who teaches seventh-grade science, the eighth-grade elective STEM class and operates the simulator.

Reynolds will participate in seven sessions led by mainly scientists from NASA. She is excited about the workshop, “Science Classrooms in Orbit? Students Can Code Satellites with Ardusat!”

Participants will learn how to integrate Arduino coding into their classrooms with student-designed experiments using satellites currently in orbit. The program is designed to teach students in grades six through 12, using science, math and technology. Reynolds plans to use the new material for the STEM class.

“I try to bring in relevant tech‑nology into the classroom,” Rey‑ nolds said. “I want to add missions for the sixth- and seventh-graders.”

When Reynolds returns to Harrison to share her experiences, she also will be sharing her classroom material with the other teachers in the program. The teachers will be divided into six regional crews.

“We will communicate with each other and develop curriculum and materials,” said Reynolds, who will return to the conference next year to share her results with the other teachers.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.