The first part of our Spring Break extravaganza involved a 48 hour program at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. We went as a family, with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done together (which is kind of saying a lot).
The Pathfinder program is designed for groups of 4-8th graders – we had 3 4th grade boys, and 6 6-7th grade girls. It was a PACKED schedule, our only downtime was during meals. The 4th graders slept HARD each night, and it was a little much for them, but for 6-8th graders, I can’t think of a better hands on STEM program.
Our group did a simulated space mission, where each crew member was assigned a job and read the script for that position. I got to conduct an experiment on the International Space Station, which my husband commanded. My son was in Mission Control, and my daughter got to do a space walk.
We experienced simulators, built rockets and learned the history of the US space program. We also learned about what it’s going to take to get to MARS, and how the US is planning on getting there in the next 10-15years.
The Pathfinder program stretched our minds to think outside of our midwestern lives, and to think actually out beyond the stars. My kids haven’t stopped talking about it – about how the Mars teams are working on being earth independent and how long that journey will be.
The Fox is already talking about going for a longer program in a few years, and if we can get him there, we absolutely will.
Huntsville is an easy day’s drive from Indianapolis, and it makes a great long weekend destination. The US Space & Rocket center is worth a visit, even without attending a Space Camp program. It’s currently a member of the ASTC travel passport program, which means members of the Indiana State Museum receive free admission, which makes it even better!
Who knows, maybe one of the kiddos we attended with will get to Mars one day!!