Friday, April 30, 2021

AEC commemorates space race, celebrates earth day

Students at the Alternative Education Center, Odessa, TX, through the leadership of Social Studies Department Head James Porter, commemorated the Space Race through week-long interdisciplinary space education-related lessons in Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, and English that culminated in a rocket launch event on April 22, 2021, at Ratliff Stadium, Odessa. TX. The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States to achieve superior spaceflight capability. The competition originated from a ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations after World War II.

Concurrent with the Space Race commemoration was AEC's celebration of the International Mother Earth Day with the theme, "Restore our Earth." During the week of Earth Day, students in Mathematics classes studied and modeled mass vs. time in space shuttle ascent, watched and analyzed the Shuttle Atlantis STS-132 launch, built model rockets, participated in the rocket launch, and wrote a reflective essay about the significance of space exploration to improve lives on Earth. In English classes, through the mentorship of Teacher Pamela Ryan, students read articles, watched videos, and studied about the tragedy of the first teacher in space (Christa McAuliffe) and the astronauts onboard the Challenger in 1986 and the Columbia in 2003; read the autobiography of the first American woman in space (Sally Ride); and discussed how space exploration benefits the Earth. 

The space education-related activities addressed the global sustainable development goals of climate action, life below water, and life on land. The rocket launch was AEC students' last activity for the Aerospace Education Excellence Program. International Mother Earth Day is observed on April 22nd each year, urging a call to action to promote a holistic approach to harmony with nature that is suffering from irresponsible human behaviors.