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Lakewood teacher to take part in space camp

Cougar Creek Elementary School teacher Elizabeth Zylstra will be participating at the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy program in Huntsville, Ala., starting June 11. - Courtesy Photo
Cougar Creek Elementary School teacher Elizabeth Zylstra will be participating at the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy program in Huntsville, Ala., starting June 11.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

LAKEWOOD — Space camp isn’t just for students.

Elizabeth Zylstra, a Cougar Creek Elementary School enrichment teacher in Lakewood, will be participating in the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy program in Huntsville, Ala., starting June 11.

The two-week program is designed to help teachers move beyond standard math and science curriculum by incorporating teaching techniques used in real-life astronaut training.

“I heard about it from a parent who had gone through the space camp,” said Zylstra, a Stanwood resident. “I looked at it online and did a little research and found out it was for educators. I thought it sounded really interesting.”

Zylstra, who will be one of six Washington teachers taking part in the program, submitted a 500-word essay and was accepted.

More than 200 teachers from 17 countries, including 44 states, are scheduled to attend the space camp.

“Through the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy program we have trained more than 1,100 science and math teachers to become more engaging and inspired educators,” said Thomas Buckmaster, President of Honeywell Hometown Solutions. “This unique hands-on learning experience reinvigorates science, technology, engineering and math education in classrooms around the globe.”

Zylstra said that she’s hoping to take some of the science and technology-based activities, such as a “martian math” exercise, and use them in her fourth- and fifth-grade classes.

Martian math requires students to get out of their seats to practice basic math skills.

Other workshops include science activities, including a “lunar stations” exercise. During lunar stations, students make preparations to inhabit the moon, and discuss craters, volcanoes and soil.

They’ll even conduct simulated space shuttle missions and astronaut simulations using a variety of high-tech equipment.

Teachers who attend the program participate in 45 hours of professional development, or training, and undergo extensive astronaut training.

“I’m hoping to do project-based learning with this,” she said. “Students can maybe participate in some of the things that I did.”

Each teacher who trains at the academy receives a fully paid scholarship.

Based in Morris Township, N.J, Honeywell International is a technology and manufacturing company that serves customers worldwide with aerospace products and services.

Zylstra is in her eighth year as a teacher in the Lakewood School District.

Her class is currently involved in building and maintaining a backyard habitat at Cougar Creek.

The habitat, funded by Fidelity Grange, give students a chance to research and oversee the planting, car and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.

For more information about the space camp, visit www.spacecamp.com/educators/honeywell.

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