09.15.2021

Presentation Of Learning: Space Camp – A Project with Purpose and Perseverance

Space Camp

KennisonThe Kennison brothers, Zach (12) and Cody (9), are learners with purpose who love to learn new things. When they realized they wouldn’t be able to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama due to Covid-19, they set out to create their own camp. Inspired by their aunt who attended Space Camp years ago, the boys still hope to attend the camp someday. But meanwhile, nothing was going to stop them from delving deep into a subject they wanted to know more about: space.

They came up with the idea of “Colony Camp.” And since these brothers don’t do anything halfway, they even designed a logo for their camp complete with patches and t-shirts. The mission of Colony Camp was to design a working camp on Mars to prepare for colonization.The planning phase kicked off after the actual landing of the Mars Rover Perseverance on February 19, 2021 and lasted for two months. Zack and Cody kept a scientific journal which included their notes, sketches, ideas and observations.

Colony CampIn preparation for their mission to Mars, they studied many different topics, including how to grow plants using hydroponics. These space pioneers wanted to be able to determine what seeds to take to Mars. They learned about solar cells and solar energy to power their mission. They studied the solar system, geology and the periodic table of elements to help them with their understanding of the subject and to prepare for the mission. They learned geological terms and did a project to learn how scientists describe rocks they would find on Mars (using candy!).They also prepared for their mission by attending live presentations via zoom with NASA Astronaut Leland D. Melvin and JPL Chief Engineer for Ingenuity Bob Balaram.

Lastly, they created the equipment they needed for their mission. They made space suits and an air powered launching mechanism with PVC and a bike pump to launch their shuttle. Zach and Cody adapted a Tinker Crate Air Cannon Crate for their rocket launcher—even assembling it underwater in the pool (with snorkels!) to simulate zero-gravity. Driven with purpose and perseverance, Zack worked all day and into the night on his rocket until he was happy with it. The learners also explored the everyday needs of their colony like how to eat and cook food at zero gravity. They bought astronaut food and assembled freeze dried meals and even ice cream for them to eat at camp.

Colony Camp culminated on their designated “mission” day when everything they created and studied was used to simulate a mission to Mars with the intent to set up a colony designed to support a larger future population. The Kennison brothers had fun and learned so many new things. In the end, they had purpose and didn’t allow the circumstances around them to keep them from learning something new.

Resources

The Mars Generation | Netflix Official Site – A great documentary following high school students as they attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL

Space Camp – Learn about Space Camp

Activities for Students – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Explore Earth and space with these STEM activities, projects, vidoes, and games

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover – NASA Mars– Learn about the Mars Rover

Student Project: Describe Rocks Like a NASA Scientist | NASA/JPL Edu – Learn how NASA writes about and studies rocks

Former NASA Astronaut Explains How Food Is Different in Space | WIRED – YouTube – Learn all about eating, drinking, and even doing the dishes in Space

Freeze Dried Food for Backpacking & Emergencies | Backpacker’s Pantry – A resource for ordering astronaut food

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