Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Private Missions on the Starship Voyager. Construction Update on the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and Central School Including a Few Historical Photos. Honor's Night at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Imaginarium Theater.

It's All Hands on Deck When the Renaissance Space Academy Runs a Private Voyager Mission

     The Starship Voyager at the Renaissance Space Academy in Lehi staged four private missions on Saturday.  And when it comes to our private programs, the Space Academy pulls out all the stops.  It's all hands on deck to provide the guests with the best experience possible.
     In the control room sat Bracken Funk and Logan Pederson. Combined, they have twenty years of flight experience from their time at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center and the Discovery Space Center.  Add former Space Center director Megan Warner into the mix and you have the absolute dream team of experience and talent. 

Caleb and Mr. Robinson with their freshly applied battle scars.
It looks so real we should provide the crews with barf bags for the extra squeamish.
Saturday's make up was for an adult mission.  The realism would be toned down for younger audiences.

     Mr. Robinson is our resident makeup artist, fully trained by his wife.  He brings experience to the missions. There isn't an adult crew he can't intimidate if needed with his teacher voice and vast knowledge of everything. He is Renaissance Academy's middle school history, debate, and Space Tech teacher.      I

     The Space Academy has a talented group of high school volunteers and staff.  Brad (left) goes to Skyridge. Alex (right) goes to Lone Peak.  Brad both volunteers and supervises missions. Alex volunteers on the missions and works on Academy staff helping me with the three coding classes we teach after school each week. 

      Sitting in the Voyager's Brig are four of our younger volunteers. Their job is to provide plenty of distractions when the mission calls for them.

The Starship Voyager's Deck 11

     The Voyager's bridge sits on deck 12 in the Farpoint Universe.  Next to the bridge sits "Deck 11".  Deck 11 offers exciting "away missions" from the bridge when necessary.  

The Engineering Access Point (EAP) Upper Level with its engine core and switch panels

Sick Bay Mid Level sits next to the EAP.

Sick Bay: USS Voyager.
The curved hallway leading to the double sized turning door adds a nice
futuristic touch to Deck 11.  The ship's Mid Level Brig sits on the opposite side of the door. From there
the ship's Bridge is just around the corner.

On the opposite side of the Deck 11 hallway and just outside the EAP sits another
darkroom door leading to another hallway. Go straight and around the corner and up a ramp and you'll be on the bridge.
Turn right and you find the Transit Pod.

The Voyager's Transit Pod. It doubles as a turbolift and a transport platform.
     Booking a private mission on the Starship Voyager is easy. Go to for more information.

Mr. W.   

Construction Update on the New Christa McAuliffe Space Center and Central Elementary School With a Few Historical Photos

The Big Trees in the Churchyard are Gone
     I drove by the school on the 11th and noticed the large trees in what use to be the old church's front yard are gone.  This picture was taken looking across 400 East toward where the church use to sit.  You can see the path the sidewalk made to the building's front door.  

     The playground is a full construction zone from the north fence to the big toy on the south end of the property.  Apparently they dug up an old stove buried out there somewhere.

Summer Space Camp July 2008.
These three campers are on a 3 day overnight camp.  You can see the old church building behind the boy's head on the left.
The church closed the building in April 2007 and sold the land to the Alpine School District for a new Space Center

Picture Left:  Looking down the west side of the school. Notice the concrete steps leading into the building from the playground are gone.  Looking south you can see where the blacktop ends and the construction zone begins.

Spring 2002 on the playground.  Principal Dan Adams is counting down for the balloon launch.
The Captain of the USS Salt Lake City (Submarine) was visiting the school to officially open the Odyssey as a
submarine for our 4th grade program.  The back of the old church is visible

Central Elementary students use the blacktop as their playground along with the area around the big toy behind the trailers.  The USS Voyager addition to the building is still there, all sealed up and waiting for demolition in one years' time. 

The students are waiting for the signal to launch their balloons and wish the Captain and first officer of the
USS Salt Lake City good sailing.  Spring 2002

And finally looking west and southwest. Check back next week for your weekly construction update.
Going back 11 years Looking toward that same spot on the playground.
Summer Space Camp 2008.  Bracken Funk out on the playground at lunch putting together a touch football game
with the campers.

Honor's Night at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.

     Honors Night was held at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center on Tuesday, April 9.  Mr. Porter welcomed both staff and volunteers.  The number one thing on everyone's mind was the new space center.  What would be the names of the two new ships?  What kind of ships would they be?  
     Mr. Porter started the meeting with a "Which is the Lie" survey. We voted for what we thought was the lie in each of the two columns. Each column represented one of the two new simulators in the new building.  

     Nothing was revealed that night.  Mr. Porter set a goal; the lies would be revealed once the CMSC's Facebook page reaches 5000 likes.  We've got some work to do to reach that goal.  Please "Like" the CMSC's Facebook page so we can learn the names of the new new simulators and discover their purpose in the soon to be fleet of six simulators at the new Space Center.

     Galileo Set Director Erin Williams awarded Mason Edmondston his Galileo pin.  As you'll soon see, Honor's Night was pretty much centered on Mason's achievements.  Mason has been a volunteer for many years, having started when he was just a young teen during my administration. 

     Mason was called up again to receive his Magellan pass from Magellan Set Director Connor Larsen. 

     Mr. Porter wasn't through honoring Mason.  Once again he was called up to be awarded his Space Center Blues.  Mason reached the Supervisor's level.  Congratulations Mason!  I'm sure flight director is next, but in what ship?

     Wherever Mason settles I'm hoping it will lead to a paycheck.  The poor kid only had sliced peaches for his supper.  And notice those two bullies laughing behind his back while luxuriating on gourmet soda and deluxe burgers.  Bad Josh. Bad Jon.  
     The idea was floated to pass the hat to see what we could collect from those assembled but Mason refused the offer. "The life of a dedicated space edventurer is never easy," he mused. 
     "No it ain't!" Jon added with a laugh as he shovelled the last of his burger into his mouth. A river of ketchup dripped down his shirt. "You see, sacrifices must be made," he added as he reached for a napkin.
     "If a hat must be passed around, let the money go to the new Space Center," Mason replied humbly.  And with that, both Jon and Josh were effectively put in their places.    

     This is Aaron K.  I've heard the staff say good things about Aaron. Some speak of his willingness to take on any assignment. Others say he's a pretty good actor.  
     Congratulations Aaron on earning your Apprentice Starfighter patch for 500 hours of volunteer service. 

     This is Katie.  Katie rightly deserve the title of "Defender of the Universe" for the time she puts in helping the CMSC reach its goals.  I expect Katie is one of those we can expect to see with a microphone in her hand in the near future. 

     Celebrating staff and volunteers who reach Journeyman status is one of the things Mr. Porter loves most about his job as CMSC director.  Tuesday night it was Josh Anderson's turn in the limelight even though it was a bit late in coming.  Josh actually hit his five year mark a few years back. 
     It's tough to get Josh to the Space Center on a weeknight to receive his honors.  He is a busy man.  But to his credit, Josh always has time to direct a mission when the need arises.  I've grown accustomed to seeing him on the Saturdays I stop by the Center to gather news.  He is pretty much regarded as the"go to man" when a flight director needs some time off.    

     Congratulations to everyone who was honored at Honor's Night.  I also want to mention how supportive the Space EdVenture family is with one another. I was present to cover the event for the blog, but also in my role as director of the Space Academy.  Also present was Sydney Brown, co-director of Reality's Edge at Canyon Grove Academy.  
     The Space EdVenture Centers celebrate each other's accomplishments as we work together to improve and provide the best experiential education to Utah's children.

Mr. W.  

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videoettes From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Construction has Started on the New Space Center and Central School. Bookmark The Troubadour for Weekly Updates, Pictures, and Historical Photos of Central School Over the Ages. Volunteering the Core of the Experience. Space Tech Theatrical Makeup. Meet the First Canine Mascot and Volunteer

     Construction of the new Christa McAuliffe Space Center and Central Elementary School started Thursday, April 4, 2019.  The heavy machinery was on the playground before the keep out fencing went up. First to go were the big trees which lined the east side of the playground.  

Left: this empty lot is where the old LDS church sat until it was tore down around ten years ago. The district bought the lot as a site for a future Space Center.  Right: Down goes the first basketball standard.

     I took the picture above in March 1983.  My class of sixth graders were at recess.  Danny Turner and a friend were arguing (friendly) over a call in their baseball game.  You can see the back of the old church and the trees.  The basketball standards in the top picture sit right where Danny and his friend were wrestling. 

     I went back to the school for an update on Friday, April 5.  Construction fencing was up and the heavy machinery was at work removing trees, shrubs, and the lawn.  

March 1983
     The afternoon recess baseball game. Chad Mills is up to bat. Aaron Hilton is catching. The big CAT bulldozer in the photo above is sitting a bit behind the old baseball field backstop.  

     From May 1984. My 6th graders are in the race of their lives for the school's Field Day festivities.  Jody Carr was the fastest kid in the school. You can see the large gap between Jody and Chad Jacob who came in second.  This picture was taken years before the new addition was built on the north side of the school. 

     Central Elementary School's playground will be closed to the public for one year during construction.  The students will use the school's parking lot to play.  Parking will be limited to the streets and of course, just maybe, the Baptist Church will let the teachers park there during the school day.  
     The Troubadour will give you weekly updates on construction mixed with pictures from the school's history. Stay tuned; the countdown is running. One Year To Go!

Mr. Williamson

Volunteering: The Core of the Space EdVentures Experience

     From the moment I first envisioned the Space Center I knew I needed a strong volunteering program in place or the Center wouldn't survive.  The Center's first volunteers were members of my sixth grade class my great students from the 1990/91 school year. I taught half day and ran the Center half day for that first year.  
     Good volunteers continue to be staffing core of all Space EdVenture centers:  Christa McAuliffe Space Center, Reality's Edge, Space Academy, Telos Discovery Space Center, and the Lion's Gate Center.
     Mr. James Porter from the Christa McAuliffe Space Center recently talked with BYUradio host Rachel Wadham (Worlds Awaiting) about volunteering. You can listen to the interview through this link.

To Volunteer at any of the local Space EdVenture Centers please contact:
     •  The Christa McAuliffe Space Center:
     •  The Space Academy (Renaissance Academy, Lehi):
     •  Telos Discovery Space Center (Orem):
     •  Reality's Edge (Canyon Grove Academy, Pleasant Grove).  
     •  The Lion's Gate Center (Saratoga Springs).

Space Tech: The Space EdVenturing Class at Renaissance Space Academy Learns Theatrical Makeup.

     Renaissance Academy is home to the Space Academy.  The Space Academy offers a four level experiential learning program to RA's students:
  •      Tier One:  InfiniD Missions.  All RA students fly InfiniD missions during the school day throughout the school year.
  •      Tier Two:  Space Tech.  Students in the 6-8th grades may enroll in Space Tech, an elective course taught during the school day in the Voyager simulator and its classroom. Space Tech is taught by Mr. Robinson and Mr. Funk. 
  •      Tier Three:  Young Astronauts / Voyagers.  Students who wish to take the experience further may join the after school Young Astronauts and Voyager Clubs.  Two hundred students are members this school year. 
  •      Tier Four: Space Academy Leadership Training (SALT). Students wanting to go the full distance may also join the SALT program. Think of SALT as a Starfleet Junior ROTC program for students in the 4th - 8th grades.  
     Theatrical makeup is one of several units taught to the Space Tech students. Myles was the guinea pig last week. The task, how to create nearly believable injuries. I'm guessing Myles didn't follow the ship's standard protocols for purging the ship's jump engine from plasma overflow.  Wanting to shortcut the procedure, Myles didn't wear the required protective headgear. He learned his lesson the hard way.  

The Jump Ship Voyager has an Official Mascot. Think of Opie as our Staff and Volunteer Support Animal in Addition to his Duties as a Really Good Alien Detector 

The Staff with Opie on Saturday's 5 Hour Voyager Mission
Front: Megan Warner, Opie, Ethan, Ammon, and Dylan.
Back: Bracken Funk, Logan Pederson, Camden Robinson
     What a good dog.  Opie is the best and so say we all.  I met Opie on Saturday at the start of the Voyager's five hour private mission.  He's a big dog so at first sight you must conquer your fear and not run for your life.  Opie came right over and we made friends. 
     Camden Robinson is Opie's master. Mr. Robinson is Renaissance Academy's middle school history and debate teacher in addition to his duties with Bracken as the Space Tech class teacher. Camden is also on the Space Academy's staff.  He teaches special historical units as part of the Academy's after school programs. He'll soon be a flight director.
     Opie is quiet and isn't bothered by the simulator's loud noises.  He keeps the staff occupied during those long waits between scenes and goes out if needed to play any role required. 
     Three cheers for Opie, the first Space EdVenture's mascot and canine volunteer.    

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videoettes From Around the World Edited for Gentler Audience

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Update on the New Christa McAuliffe Space Center: 2 Truths and 1 Lie. I Get To See an InfiniD Mission for the First Time. Greenpeace and Mad Dog Make Another Appearance. The Imaginarium.

Two Truths and One Lie About the New Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Can You Guess Which is Which?

Mr. Porter will reveal 2 truths and 1 lie about the starships being developed for our new facility. Find out more about what we have been developing as we move toward exciting additions to our fleet.
Like the Christa McAuliffe Space Center Facebook page to help them reach 5,000 likes to reveal which details are the truth and get even more details revealed.

Renaissance Space Academy News
My Students Fly an InfiniD Mission on the Space Academy's Jumpship Voyager

     I was able to see an InfinD curriculum mission for the first time last week when my Apollo class of sixth graders did a mission under the direction of Mr. Bracken Funk aboard the Space Academy's state of the art Voyager simulator at Renaissance Academy.  What InfiniD's website says is spot on: An InfiniD mission is thinking outside the bubble sheet.

     The imagineering needed to create a set of controls, integrated with a science based mission and curriculum tied to the Utah State Core is hard enough. But to do all of that and engage a class of 30 students is astonishing to say the least. 

     I am impressed and proud of what Casey Voeks, Skyler Carr, and their associates have created. InfiniD is thinking well outside the box - light years outside the box to be exact.  If your school isn't an InfiniD school, then I suggest you give InfiniD a call and get them right over to run a demo for your staff.  The product sells itself.

     There were a few hiccups during the mission which Bracken promptly sent on to InfiniD.  Within an hour we had a response.  That is what I call service.  The issues we had were related to the unique situation we have at Renaissance. We have a dedicated starship simulator which uses two sets of controls: InfiniD for the daytime operations and Thorium for our Young Astronaut squadrons and private missions and camps.  The issues we have wouldn't be issues for your normal school which uses InfiniD in their computer lab starship simulators. 
The Space Academy's Four Levels of Engagement with Experiential Education

     Renaissance Academy has four layers of experiential engagement for its nearly 900 students.
     I.  Tier One:  InfiniD Missions.  All RA students fly InfiniD missions during the school day throughout the school year.
     2.  Tier Two:  Space Tech.  Students in the 6-8th grades may enroll in Space Tech, an elective course taught during the school day in the Voyager simulator and its classroom.  
     2.  Tier Three:  Young Astronauts / Voyagers.  Students who wish to take the experience further may join the after school Young Astronauts and Voyager Clubs.  Two hundred students are members this school year. 
     4.  Tier Four:  SALT:  Space Academy Leadership Training. Students wanting to go the full distance may also join the SALT program. Think of SALT as a Starfleet Junior ROTC program for students in the 4th - 8th grades.  

     The Space Academy is proud to be called an InfiniD school. Our partnership with InfiniD benefits our students by enriching their learning with experiential simulations. Learning by Doing is the future of education and that is exactly what we do at Renaissance Academy.

This Much Fun Must Be Against the Law
The Five Hour Joint Magellan / Phoenix Greenpeace Mission

      I want to thank Jon Parker and Connor Larsen for inviting me to come by and watch the telling of my mission "Greenpeace" in a five hour setting at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  It is always good to step into Central Elementary School and "hang out" with the good folks at the Space Center who keep the magic alive and well.  
     I took a few pictures and filmed a few things for this post. What you old timers will enjoy is seeing Mr. Bill Schuler as Mad Dog once again in those end of mission videos we shot on the first Odyssey over twenty years ago.   Does this screenshot bring back any memories? 

     I'm assured that most, if not all the old Voyager missions will be returning to the new Space Center.  With that being the case, it is good that these original Voyager missions are being told now so that future generations of supervisors and flight directors can see them told by those who saw and did the missions on the Voyager I. 
     Enjoy this short video of the night's fun.