6 UAE teachers selected for Nasa programme

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on April 17, 2018
6 UAE teachers selected for Nasa programme

(Supplied photo)

Six UAE teachers will be heading off to an all-expense-paid Nasa space camp in the US as part of a professional development programme.

During the programme, the teachers will experience 45 hours of classroom, laboratory and field-training activities. This includes simulated astronaut training exercises, high-performance jet simulations, scenario-based space missions, coding, rocket building and flying programs that will provide lessons for them to bring back to their students in the UAE.

The weeklong trip to the US Space and Rocket Centre has been set up by a software-industrial company, Honeywell, and is a part of their Honeywell Educators at Space Academy (HESA).

The selected 6 teachers

> Asma Al Maqdi (Applied Technology High School, Al Ain)

> Muhammad Usman Farooq (International Community School, Abu Dhabi)

> Abir Obeid (International School of Creative Science, Sharjah)

> Raychouni Bassam (Greenwood International School, Dubai)

> Heba Khodier and Hoda Alawady (Al Khaleej National School, Dubai)


Last year, four other teachers were selected to attend the programme at the space centre. Since they've returned, they have been applying what they have learned into their classrooms.

Two of these teachers spoke to Khaleej Times on how they are implementing their new space knowledge into their class.

"In my classroom, I always try to relate the ideas and topics to other disciplines. Moreover, I always present information in the context of space," Lara Chouman, a teacher at the Al Ittihad Private School in Dubai, said.

"For example, what happens to human body systems during a sudden space shuttle landing? I introduced the challenges we did in Huntsville to the team I work with, and I did it in my classroom as well. I designed a project based challenge in the school and science department where students had to prepare a display for the different planets with all the characteristics and textures on each planet in an interactive way. Finally, I introduced astronomy to the art department where we are starting next academic year a programme for astronomy, origami and art.

"The fact that we interacted with educators from around the globe and we had the chance to share best practices was definitely a highlight. Another mind-blowing aspect of the trip was the authenticity of all the activities we performed at space camp. Everything was designed to make us live the life of astronauts."

Buthaina Abandah, a teacher at the Applied Technology High School, Abu Dhabi, said the space camp has helped advance her knowledge in space. She said these skills are essential in helping the future generation learn more about the world outside of the Earth.

"The goal in the UAE is to go to Mars and the astronaut programme. We have a responsibility here to make space the focus for future generation of Emiratis," she said. "This is a good start and by doing these kinds of space camps it really helps the teachers and students. The experience we get is something we can implement into our daily lives, in classrooms and our space clubs."

The selected UAE teachers will join hundreds of teachers from around the world at the US Space & Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, that promotes science, technology, engineering and math (Stem) education.

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