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

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Maintenance and Test Mission Week Complete. The 2023 Summer Space Center Camps Begin. Farpoint Voyagers and Young Astronauts Finish the Year. Imaginarium Theater

The Voyager's Test Mission Crew.  The crew consisted of 2 Farpoint Voyagers, 4 CMSC Voyagers and 2 Voyager Explorers

The space centers reserve the first week of June as maintenance and test mission week.  Several maintenance projects build up over the school year, and with all the school flights and field trips, it is too difficult to fix them unless the project is serious. 

Last week The Christa McAuliffe Space Center had projects under repair and improvement in all six simulators.  The Space Place at Renaissance Academy did the same with its Starship Voyager.  The Voyager had lights replaced and a new mammoth subwoofer installed.  Other hallway ceiling speakers were replaced as well.  

In addition to the maintenance projects, several of the simulators ran test missions of their new summer camp stories last week.  Test missions can be told anytime, but with everyone's tight work and school schedules, the first week of June has been, and continues to be, the best time to run them.  Yesterday the Voyager flew two 5 hour test missions; one for the junior camp and one for the senior camp.  

Bracken Funk and Megan Warner manned the Voyager's Control Room accompanied by five of The Space Place's Voyager Club Volunteers.  

Four members of the Voyager test mission crew were Voyager Volunteers from the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  One of my goals is to bring our Voyager Club members together from time to time to get to know each other and experience all the starship simulators in Utah County. We are at our best when we support and learn from each other.   

Aiden, (standing) a CMSC Voyager, was the captain.  Wyatt, (seated) a Farpoint Voyager, was the first officer. Both are Alpine District High School Students

The Voyager's camera feeds into the Control Room

Mikey W. and Kate F are both CMSC Voyagers. 
They manned the Operations Station

Of course there were bumps in the test mission road - which is why we run them.  The Voyager test crew gave Bracken excellent feedback on the mission. That feedback will be used to make modifications in the story and how it is run to ensure the campers will have the best experience possible. 


Ellie and her Outstanding Cassini Staff running a test mission 
of Artemis, a new Cassini 5 Hour Mission

I spent several hours at the Space Center last week working on my own to do list but took a break or two to pop in on a few of the test missions.  I found Ellie (above) running a test mission of the Cassini's new 5 hour mission Artemis.  The Cassini is blessed with a well trained and talented staff - something you'd expect with Jon Parker as your Set Director.  They reported success with their test missions. 

The Cassini is bringing back an old fan favorite "Event Horizon" from the original Starship Voyager's library as a 10 hour Officer's Camp story.  The Magellan is telling yet another old Voyager story "The Grand PooPah".  It is nice to see my old missions from the first Voyager still being told and loved. 


The Cassini's Hyrum sitting at Ellie Feet taking copious
notes on the Artemis mission. 
The Farpoint Voyagers and Young Astronauts Finish the School Year with Great InfiniD Scores.  

A few members of the 6th Grade Tiger Squadron celebrated taking 3rd place on
their InfinD Mission.  3rd Place out of 200 classrooms nationwide 
is something to celebrate.  

The Farpoint Voyager and Young Astronaut Clubs at Renaissance Academy's The Space Place were so large this school year that we ran out of school days to complete their 8 meeting / mission cycles. We had to finished them last week after the year ended.  Fourteen squadrons filled our schedules on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Each squadron did an InfiniD mission in my classroom and finished their Long Duration Mission (LDM) in the Voyager.  Their LDM's started in October.    

The 3rd Grade Lion Squadron Leaving Orbit on their InfiniD Mission

Imaginarium Theater
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Sunday, May 28, 2023

And With the Bell, I Finished 40 Years as an Educator. How Things Have Changed Since 1983, A Report on the May Meeting of the Voyager Club at the Space Center. Imaginarium Theater.


           And that's 40 years in education.  Left, my first class 1983. Right my students from this year.

And with Renaissance Academy's 10:00 A.M. bell on Friday, I finished my 40th year in education.  Forty years...... wow that makes me sound and feel old, but it has been a rewarding career with many challenges.

Reflecting on the Past:

The year was 1983 when I stepped into the classroom for the very first time. It was a time when technology had not yet woven its way into the fabric of education. Chalkboards and textbooks were the primary teaching tools, and student research involved trips to the library and encyclopedias. Teachers relied heavily on their knowledge and creativity to deliver lessons. We didn't have a photocopy machine in the school but we did have the purple mimeograph machines and overhead projectors.

School Technology 1983. What I Used at Central Elementary

overhead projector and mimeograph machine

Filmstrip Projector and Movie Projector

Record player and TV on a cart

The Classroom: Then and Now:

Over the last 40 years, education has undergone a revolution, transforming classrooms into dynamic and tech-savvy environments. The blackboard has given way to interactive whiteboards, projectors, and digital displays, bringing the world into the classroom with a single click. Teachers now have access to an extensive array of educational resources, virtual simulations, and multimedia tools, allowing them to create immersive learning experiences.

Collaboration and Communication:

When I started teaching, collaboration between educators often took place at the school level. Today email and online platforms now enable instant communication and facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, and best practices.

Personalized Learning:

One of the most significant changes I've seen is the shift towards personalized learning through the use of computers and how the internet has given the world to today's students at the click of a few keys. It is amazing!

It was and still is the students who've kept me in the classroom. You must love working with young people if you want to survive in education, but there is more. You must also love your curriculum and learning itself.

The best decision I ever made was the day I walked into the administration building at BYU in 1980 and switched my major from business to education. I've never looked back.

I'd like to teach a few more years if my health holds out. A teacher should retire once they realize their age, health, or temperament is running out of gas. I'm watching the meter every day I step in front of a class. The students will get my best, and if that is no longer a doable thing, then I'll know to take one final bow and hand my chalk to a teacher who can give the kids 100%. Until then, let's take out our books and turn to page 214. It's time to calculate the volume of triangular prisms :)

Mr. Williamson

The Voyagers Meet for their May Voyager Club Meeting

Jason Trump gave the keynote presentation. This month's topic, The Sun.
Jason did a fantastic job blending both ancient and current knowledge of the sun. Everyone walked away knowing a lot more than they did before the meeting started

The Voyager Club is a community of space enthusiasts aged 12 and above. We gathered for our May meeting at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center yesterday. The club's mission is to ignite curiosity and promote space exploration, the club fosters a love for the cosmos and aims to cultivate a space-faring civilization.

Early Morning Excitement:

The May meeting of the Voyager Club kicked off at 8:00 A.M., with an exciting few games of bingo. Scott Wiltbank emerged as the fortunate winner of the first round and selected a StarBucks gift card as his prize. Bingo is a great way to encourage our young Voyager cadets to come early to the meeting so everyone is seated by the time the meeting starts at 8:30 A.M.

A Warm Welcome and Introductions:

At 8:30 A.M., the actual meeting was called to order, with Aiden, the club's dedicated president, extending a warm welcome to all attendees. Expressing gratitude for their presence, Aiden acknowledged the enthusiasm and passion that unites the Voyager Club. The meeting began by introducing new club members, referred to as Voyager Explorers. These individuals have the privilege of participating in all club activities except volunteering in the spaceship simulators, an experience reserved for Voyager Volunteers.

It was nearly standing room only. There were Voyager Explorers, Voyager Volunteers, and Voyager Staff in attendance. The Voyager Staff are the club's members who work as employees of the Space Center

Department Showcasing and Achievements:

To celebrate the club's collective accomplishments, I invited department heads to highlight their achievements from the previous month. Each department took a turn to showcase their contributions and engage the members in their respective areas of expertise.

Hayden talking about the club's Media Department. "Don't keep your eyes down, look up! Imagine what wonders you could create in the Media Department!"

Tyler W., representing the Acting Department, skillfully captivated the audience with his commanding voice and sliceable enthusiasm for what the acting department does to contribute to the Space Center's mission. Hayden, from the Media Department, provided insight into the fascinating world of space-related media projects undertaken by the club. Brylee, speaking as the head of the Writing Department, talked about the department's goals for the future. Finally, I briefly discussed the engineering department's contributions

Hopefully the department showcases will motivate more of our cadets to get more deeply involved in Space Center operations and productions.

Astronomy and Ancient Observations:

The highlight of the meeting was the captivating presentation by Jason Trump, an esteemed member of the Voyager Academy's education staff. Jason, an accomplished space educator, shared his knowledge and passion for the sun, its various components, and the fascinating ways ancient civilizations in the Americas recorded solar events on rock. The cadets were engaged as Jason introduced them to native American astronomical wisdom and the extraordinary connection between humanity and the cosmos. Jason ended his lesson by talking about his current project called PUNCH. He and his team are creating four suitcase sized satellites to be launched soon. The PUNCH satellites will study the sun.

Team Building and Collaboration:

Club President Aiden working with one table of cadets during the team building exercise

Recognizing the importance of unity and collaboration, Aiden and Michael led an engaging team-building exercise for those cadets who could stay an extra 15 minutes after the official club meeting ended. As usual, we have too much to do and no time to do it in our club meetings :) The members participated in a round-robin story creation activity, fostering creativity, cooperation, and camaraderie among the attendees. The experience not only enhanced their storytelling skills but also deepened their connection as a unified space-loving community.

Michael working with the other table. Michael is the club's vice president

A Memorable Gathering:

The May meeting of the Voyager Club at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center proved to be an exceptional and memorable event. We had 36 in attendance which was pretty good considering it is the Memorial Day weekend. We even had four visitors from the Farpoint Voyager Club headquartered at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy.

The Voyager cadets are committed to promote space education, exploration, and collaboration. The meeting exemplified the club's mission to excite people about space and cultivate a space-faring civilization. The Voyager Club continues to inspire and empower individuals, igniting a love for the cosmos and fostering a brighter future in space exploration.

A Special Thank You to Jade Hansen

We want to thank Jade Hansen for contributing the grand prize for the end of meeting prize drawing. Each cadet was given a ticket for the drawing. This month's prize was a tablet computer.

Jade is a long time supporter of the Space Center. He squeezes Space Center time in between his duties as a dad and husband, his "real" day job in hi-tech, and his work with the Engineering Department. And let's not forget that Jade also works as a supervisor in the Cassini simulator.

Imaginarium Theater

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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Remembering Jackson Miller, One of Our Voyagers and Volunteers. Thoughts at the End of the School Year and Honoring Our Volunteers. Imaginarium Theater

Jackson (left) as the ship's doctor. He volunteered whenever he could during his cancer treatment

Jackson Miller passed away fifteen years ago on May 20, 2008.  Jackson loved the Space Center as a camper and then as a volunteer and Voyager.  

I've seen hundreds and hundreds of young Space Center volunteers come and go over the last 32 years and am always grateful for their dedication to the program and its mission.  If you remember Jackson, then please take a moment to celebrate his life and the joy he gave to you.

Mr. Williamson

This was The Troubadour post on the week of his death. 

Jackson (center) getting his sugar after a Magellan mission.

My Thoughts and Thanks as the School Year Ends and the Summer Space Camp Season Starts

Dear Staff and Volunteers of All Utah Valley's Space Centers,

Our long school year journey is drawing to an end. It has been quite a trek. We worked many missions. We taught many classes. We can look back with satisfaction on a job well done.  

I'm pleased to work with the finest people in Utah County. Each of you bring a unique perspective to your work. You flavor the Center with your personality and enrich the lives of our students. Your dedication and willingness to extend yourself and go that little bit extra has made the difference between success and mediocrity.

We are unusual troubadours. We perform for our audiences without their acknowledgment. We create magic without their applause. We are the makers of smiles. Using our voices as wands, we take our students and visitors on fantastic magical voyages through the cosmos bringing them to a better understanding of themselves and the universe.

We sit at the back of our starships manning the rudder. We do all this unseen, for if we stood for recognition, some of the essence of the experience would be lost. So we hide behind our walls - surrounding our passengers with sound and lights and music and story. I acknowledge your work. I appreciate your efforts. I applaud your talent.

Some day when the history of space travel is written, I hope a there is a small paragraph telling of a place in Utah that, long ago, inspired children to take their eyes off the ground and look far into the distance to see what could be.

Imagination is our fuel and Wonder is our language. So troubadours...... we sit together around the campfire and plan our next campaign. There is a summer ahead and more children counting the days to their EdVenture. Let's sleep for a bit and rise refreshed. There is more to do.

Mr. Williamson

Imaginarium Theater

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