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

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Starship Voyager's First Summer Camp 2018. A Jittery Crew, A Klingon Badly in Need of a Shampoo and Cut, and the Mysterious UFO's in Northern Utah County. Summer Doesn't Get Any Better and There are Still Openings. Theater Imaginarium.

The Klingon Commander (Jensen Caldwell) with the Voyager's Captain working out Strategy on the Command Tactical Screen. The Voyager is one awesome ship!
Summer Camp One  2018
Hello Space Fans!
     Farpoint at Renaissance Academy held its first summer space camp on June 25-27: a joint camp between Renaissance Academy and American Heritage School in American Fork.  The camp was directed by Alex Debirk, Farpoint's summer camp director.  I should also mentioned in passing that Alex is the high school physics teacher at American Heritage. He's one smart cookie. It shouldn't go without saying that Farpoint has a gifted and talented staff of flight directors and supervisors - many of whom have over ten years of space center experience. Rumors are that one of Farpoint's staff has 35 years of simulator experience - mind you, that is only a rumor.

The Beta Squadron launching their bottle rockets on their science / simulator day at Renaissance

  The camp consisted of sixteen campers divided into the Alpha and Beta Squadrons. The campers flew a five hour and a 2.5 hour mission in the Voyager at Renaissance Academy and one five hour mission on the Dauntless at the Discovery Space Center at Canyon Grove Academy in Pleasant Grove.  The three day camp included a 2.5 hour STEM class taught by Major Larry Vidinha, Renaissance Academy's awarding winning middle / high school science teacher. The Voyager ran "Sleeping Giants," the Dauntless ran "Intolerance" for each squadron.

Major Vidinha watches as his cadets use a foot pump to "fuel" their water bottle rockets. 

Time to launch. Two of the braver cadets stabilize the launcher while the builder of the rocket
stands to the side to pull the release.

     Day 1: The Alpha Squadron arrived at Renaissance, while the Betas went to the Dauntless. The Alphas were "jumpy", a term used by Mr. Debirk. They saw death at every turn - a long, agonizing death; something Space Centers excel in.  When the crew first learned of a potential saboteur on board, they shrieked in unisom and darted to the back of the bridge, cowering behind the conference table.  Realize the crew was totally at their mercy, the staff took advantage of their lack of discipline and pounced on them. Two intruders were eventually captured and imprisoned in the brig. Spencer climbed up to the top bunk and hid out of sight while the other stood passively near the force field looking as if nothing at all was wrong. The Alpha security guard noticed one of the prisoners was missing when he made his next round. "Where is he?" he demanded from the standing prisoner. Spencer leapt down from the bunk startling the poor security guard into running for his life. 

The campers confer with communications officer over a miscommunication -
something that happens more often than you'd think from such experienced Starfleet officers.

     Later in the mission the plotting control room sent more intruders to the bridge. Once the crew realized what was coming, they did what most young Starfleet officers do, abandoned the bridge en masse and ran for perceived safety of Deck 2 with the vigilant and agile security guard leading the way. 
     Overall the Voyager's controls ran well. The Alpha's enjoyed "Sleeping Giants." As for the Beta crew, Maeson Busk simply said: "They were great!"

The Beta Squadron on the Voyager's Bridge

     Day 2: Alpha Squadron returned to the Voyager and successfully completed the last 2.5 hours of "Sleeping Giants" (a seven hour mission) despite the continued skittishness of the crew. Despite their overwhelming / ever present fear, the Alpha's solved the stickiest problem of the flight on their own. 

The Alpha Squadron at Canyon Grove on the Dauntless.

     Meanwhile the Beta Squadron was with Major Larry doing experiments with 2 liter and 1-liter water bottle rockets. The crew experimented, and by using calculations and a bit of trial and error they found the optimum amounts of air and water to make their rockets fly to dizzying heights. I heard from reliable sources that the Control Tower at Salt Lake International Airport reported picking up several UFO's in the most northern section of Utah County. Some teams got the rocket to fly very high indeed.
     After lunch, the Alphas went to Larry and the Betas started "Sleeping Giants." The flight team noticed a night and day difference with this second crew. They were quiet, focused, and collected.

The Beta Left Wing Officer on the Voyager

     Day 3: The Alpha Squadron flew the Dauntless at Canyon Grove Academy, while the Betas finished Sleeping Giants on the Voyager. One of the Betas missed his class and mission yesterday due to an appointment for stitches. His sister took his place. The young man returned on Day 3 with his sister in tow. She had such a good time the previous day that she asked to be added to the crew for the third day. It was good she did, she was the MVP of the squad as the First Officer. She took charge when the captain needed help commanding the ship. 

The Voyager Control Room on Day 3. All was quiet. Mostly. Alex was having difficulty finding his
targets on sensors.

     At the action packed middle part if the mission, the Voyager's controls completely crashed--Interstellar, Mercury, and the Main Server. Fortuna, the goddess of Fortune - a long time Voyager antagonist, was present manifest as a foul smelling vapor. She was up to her usual mischief. Luckily, the ship was so battered at that point in the story from numerous space battles that the meltdown worked perfectly to the story's advantage. We called lunch a bit early while we worked to revive the out-of-shape ship (hadn't flown in weeks, after all). Interstellar came back on, and the crew pushed through to the end without any control or hardware hitches.

The Klingon Arrives in the Voyager's Transporter Room. The Security Guard was unsure on
opening the door, but with me present with my camera, he had no choice but to find the courage
needed and open the door.

     All in all, it was a great camp. The crews had a good time. 
     Would you, or someone you know want to attend one of Farpoint's summer camps? We still have a few openings on the July 17-19 and the July 31-Aug 2nd camps. Registration is done through the American Heritage School's website.  You'll need to sign up for a VeraCode access number to register.

Theater Imaginarium
The Best Gifs of the Week from Around the World 
Edited for a Gentler Audience

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Goal, A New Planetarium at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. How Can You Help - On Good4Utah. The MidWeek Imaginarium.

Space Center Director James Porter on Good4Utah
Hello Troops,
     James Porter, Space Center Director and Ryan Wells, Central Elementary Principal are beating the drum for a fully functioning community planetarium to be part of the new Space Center when Central Elementary is rebuilt.  On June 20 they took their message to Good4Utah.  The video interview is below, along with this story.  Please donate.
Mr. W. 

√ Enhanced educational experiences
√ Building a community that values and fosters a culture of learning
√ Tax deductible
√ Pass it on: You have cherished memories with us, help us make more

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (News4Utah)- The Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove is looking to make a new addition, but they need your help.
Central Elementary in Pleasant Grove is home to the space center which is an educational, immersive space simulator run by Alpine School District.
 The center has been around for 27 years and has seen more than 400,000 students.
The school—along with the space center—have been undergoing a rebuild since 2016 and is raising funds for a new, permanent planetarium.
Donations are being accepted now.
Funds raised will go toward constructing the planetarium, additional simulators, and add community outreach rooms for extended learning workshops.  This would be in addition to ASD’s current plans of constructing the main school facility and four simulators. The end result being a 50 percent increase to the current field trip capacity of the program.  “As it is right now, we have to turn away schools wanting to attend our field trip program,” James Porter, program director explained. “We just don’t have the facility to handle any more classes.”
The rebuild is scheduled for completion in 2020.
Where will the new building be located?
  • On the same lot as the current school.  The build will occur with school operating normally with a limited playground and field access.  When the new structure is completed the old school will be demolished after special community events.
How much money are you raising?
  • A 4K planetarium dome and projection system is estimated at $800,000.
Who will have access to the planetarium?
  • The Space Center will operate after school planetarium shows on weekdays and on Saturday just as it has with their simulator programs.  Individuals or groups will be able to purchase tickets or rent out the planetarium. Funds from these activities will sustain the operational costs of the program without putting additional financial burdens on Alpine School District just as the Space Center has done for 27 years.
Is it going to be a separate building?
  • Current plans have the planetarium and Space Center in an attached, but isolated, wing of the school.
Are there any membership benefits or recognition for donors?
There are a wide range of donation options that give donors a chance at future planetarium shows, simulations, yearly memberships, plaque recognition, and other fun gratuities.

The Midweek Imaginarium