A space station/shuttle is coming to Manawa.
“The Spirit of Education” will visit the Manawa Elementary School on Friday, April 4.
The innovative Dream Flight USA student shuttle/space station’s mission is to motivate elementary children to learn. Hands-on learning is the key to the success of the program.
The shuttle/space station offers hands-on activities using space travel and aviation as a catalyst. The vehicle travels to schools and events wherever requested.
The 45-foot-long, 44,000-pound Spirit of Education S.T.E.M shuttle/space station is just over 13 feet high and 8.5 feet wide. It is the focal point of the Wausau-based Dream Flight USA Foundation.
On board, visitors will find study areas and work stations where they can participate in a variety of activities. The work stations are designed for students in grades 4, 5, and 6, but can be modified for students in grades 3 through 8.
Creativity is stressed in the Dream Flight USA shuttle program. One of the favorite activities follows the session on board the shuttle where the students watch a video and discuss the planets with the aid of a model of the solar system.
Up to 20 children can visit the onboard classroom for each session. Working in pairs, the students move from one station to the next every 10 to 15 minutes.
The work stations may include: Design an Alien, Designing a Space Station, Fixing the Hubble Telescope, Working in Space, Star Maps, and Operating a Robotic Arm.
The students especially love the creative activity of designing an alien. They choose a planet, study the planet, then design an alien to live there.
The students need to take several factors into consideration, including:
• What the alien needs to survive the cold or the heat of the chosen planet.
• How the alien would look.
• How it would move about.
• What would it eat?
Some of the learning, by design, continues back in the classroom.
The Dream Flight USA Foundation and curriculum were developed by Sharon Ryan, a fifth grade teacher at John Marshall School in the Wausau School District. Ryan, a Presidential Award recipient, developed a similar program in the school district which served students for 10 years.
The Dream Flight USA Foundation, of Wausau, was formed in 2003, with the first mission of the Spirit of Education occurring in June 2006.
The foundation relies on donations, corporate sponsorships and program fees.
For more information, visit www.dreamflightusa.com.