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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

American Heritage School's Discovery Space Center and Renaissance Academy's The Space Place Finish Their Seasons of School Based Flights and Programs. What at Success! Training Never Ends at the CMSC. Imaginarium Theater


The final crew of the inaugural season for the American Heritage Discovery Space Center in the USS Discovery

This is the final crew of the inaugural season for the American Heritage Discovery Space Center in the USS Discovery. The season was a great success. We ran flights for the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade classes as a part of their science class curriculum. We had fifteen different classes split into two groups for 30 separate squadrons. Each group flew twice, making for sixty flights and 360 students served.


Each class attended an initial mission session which informed them of a problem to solve in a laboratory session. The 5th-grade class flew "Intolerance," In the first session, they encountered the Pannae and Pannou races. In their laboratory session, they tested the genetic codes of both aliens and learned that they were identical, which helped them counter the Pannou's racist claims.


In sixth grade, the classes flew "Children of Perikoi." After discovering the truth behind the Choosing, the students decide to end it. But now they have to decide what to do with the vacuum they'll leave behind. During their laboratory session, the students determined which basic science principles they will teach the natives and how they will teach them.


Seventh and Eighth grade flew "Collision Course." They gathered information on the orbits, black body emissions, and spectroscopy of a new solar system, looking for a habitable world. The crew analyzed this data during the lab session, creating a solar system map and determining each planet's temperatures and chemical makeup. Hence, they knew which planets to visit or send probes to when they returned to the simulator.


Our main goal is to continue integrating our mission stories with the middle school science curriculum. We have some great ideas for next year when we expand the program to last all year with more mission sessions and new stories.

Alex DeBirk

American Heritage Discovery Space Center Director

Physics and Engineering Department

The Young Astronauts and Voyagers at Renaissance Academy's The Space Place Finish the School Year Strong!

The Fifth Grade Young Astronauts Tiger Squadron on Their Final Mission of the School Year

Renaissance Academy's The Space Place, American Heritage School's Discovery Space Center, and Telos Academy's Discovery Space Center operate within the Farpoint Universe.  All three school's run school based space education programs.  You read about American Heritage's successful program in the above article.  Congratulations Alex and team on your first year.


A Defense Officer manning his station during the final scene of the year long mission

The Space Place's (TSP) school based program finished the school year strong as well.  The majority of Renaissance Academy's 3rd - 9th grade students participated in InfiniD missions in their classrooms overseen by Bracken Funk, TSP's Director.  170 students enrolled in the after school space academy program for grades 3 - 9.  136 missions were flown in the Starship Voyager giving each squadron of 10 students 8 flights stretching from October - May. 

The 5th Tigers in a Break Out Classroom Session with Mr. Funk discussing their Long Duration  Mission Intolerance and how to meet their mission objectives

Next school year The Space Place plans on expanding the InfiniD mission program to more classrooms so that all 750 students at Renaissance Academy in grades K-9 can participate.  The Young Astronauts and Voyager Club programs will continue as well with enrollment starting in September and the first club meetings starting the first week of October. 

The Space Place offers summer space education camps throughout the summer months for grades 3 and up.  To learn more, visit

American Heritage School's Discovery Space Center will not offer a summer program this year because of construction and remodelling at the school. 

Training New Staff, a Never Ending Endeavour at The Christa McAuliffe Space Center 

Hyrum going for a Flight Director Pass last week in the CMSC's Cassini Simulator

Hyrum would like to be a Cassini flight director in the very near future at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove. Standing in his way is Jon Parker, Cassini Set Director.  

Jon Parker watching, listening, analyzing, and note taking during Hyrum's mission

Jon's job is to ensure that Hyrum is fully capable of directing a mission for a paid public crew before he issues a Flight Director License to Hyrum.  Maintaining flight excellence is Jon's goal.  

Ian (blue shirt) was also training a black shirt volunteer in the fine art of running 
the Cassini's IIFX Station

I left before the results were given but based on what I saw, Hyrum did an excellent job.  Whether it was good enough for Jon is another matter.  A Flight Director License is given after a candidate successfully flies 2 test missions.  

The Christa McAuliffe Space Center is so busy with private missions and summer space camps that training is a must.  Regardless of what ship you're in, you can count on the fact that someone will be training during all missions, all summer long.

Imaginarium Theater

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Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Nighthawk Starship Simulator Leaves Renaissance Academy for a Complete Overhaul at Underfunded Films Shipyards. This Week's Imaginarium Theater

Moving day from Renaissance Academy to the Underfunded Films Warehouse

     The TSC Nighthawk (Terran Space Command - Farpoint Universe) was recently removed from active space service at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy in Lehi and moved to drydock at the Underfunded Films warehouse where it will be gutted, rewired, polished, oiled, de-radiated, and re-equipped with up to date computers.  

The Nighthawk in Drydock for a full refit

     The refit will be under the direction of Admirals Megan Warner and Matthew Long. Megan works at Underfunded Films and The Space Place.  Megan is the Nighthawk's Set Director. For those who don't know Megan, she was the Director of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center from June 2013 - June 2014. 

Alex Anderson, Matt Long, and Megan Warner back in the day

     Matt is the owner of Underfunded Films and a former Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center volunteer, supervisor, and Flight Director from years past.  As a young teenager, Matt built his own starship simulator in his parent's home in Provo.  Space EdVentures has been in his blood ever since.  
     The Nighthawk use to be called the Titan when it was owned by The Discovery Space Center.  It was the company's mobile simulator.  Hundreds and hundreds of miles were put on the ship (even to California a few times) as it moved from place to place preaching the gospel of experiential learning through simulations.
     InfiniD Learning donated the Titan to Renaissance Academy a few years ago. It was renamed Nighthawk when The Space Place adopted the Farpoint Universe.  Sadly, the ship entered shutdown mode when Covid struck and deteriorated over the last two years.

The Nighthawk's Interior, gutted and ready for a good refit

     And just when you need a miracle, two angels swoop in and offer to take the Nighthawk and give it the old one - two to get it in tip top shape for thousands of Renaissance Academy Young Astronauts needing the thrill of a lifetime.  Thank you so much Matt Long and Megan Warner!    

     The Nighthawk will return to The Space Place at Renaissance Academy when the work is complete.  
     I asked Megan to write a few words to give us an update on the refit.  

 I’ve taken out the pipes and started in on those metal conduits so far. We have to pretty much completely rewire the ship, since we’re putting in laptops instead of the sticks. The laptops are going to be kept in the control room as opposed to in the ship itself, which means removing the Ethernet and putting in display cables between the control room and the stations. 

     The Nighthawk is the only movable simulator in the fleet of Space EdVentures simulators.  It will be good to have it running again. Who knows, it may even go on a few road trips in the future to show those living in galaxies far far away what we do to make learning FUN!  


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Sunday, May 15, 2022

An All Time Record High Score for the Voyager Club at Renaissance Academy's The Space Place. That Middle School Tiger Team is Awesome. Plus this Week's Imaginarium Theater


     Amazing is the word to describe the score given to The Space Place's Middle School (7-9th grade) Tiger Squadron.  The Tigers scored a whopping 178 points out of 100 possible in their last flight of the school year on May 6.  The squadron reached all the mission objects which gave them the perfect 100 points for the rotation. In addition, they earned 78 bonus points by completed several hidden objects we put into every mission but never brief the crew on those objectives.  

     My trusty calculator which has sat on my desk both as a teacher and Space Center director for the last 30+ years shows the final score when all points were added in.  You old Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center volunteers and staff should recognize the calculator; many of you used it repeatedly over the years :) 

     The Tiger Squadron's score report was signed by Bracken Funk, myself, and the squadron.  Copies were given to the cadets. The signed form will be framed and put on display in the Voyager's Control Room, at least until another team in the future should inch past 178 points and take the crown. 

The Tigers (Left to Right standing) Lehman, Acacia, Ammon, Isaac, Jackson (Captain), Tavi, Enoch, and Brian. Kneeling are Fenix and Aaron

     The middle school Tigers are part of Renaissance Academy's after school Voyager and Young Astronauts Clubs.  Third - fifth grades comprise the Young Astronauts.  Sixth - 9th grades make up the Voyagers.  In addition to team building exercises and lessons on space science and astronomy, the Voyager's and Young Astronauts are assigned one 8 month long mission in the Starship Voyager per school year.  The Voyager is the largest school based starship simulator in the world and is the flagship of Renaissance Academy's The Space Place (space center).  Students enroll in the clubs in September.  Meetings and space missions start in October and end in May.  Both clubs are staffed by Bracken Funk (The Space Place Director), Victor Williamson (6th Grade), Larry Vidinha (middle school science) and Camden Robinson (middle school history, speech and debate).  175 students divided into squadrons of 10 enrolled in the after school club this school year.
     Congratulations to the Middle School Tigers on a job well done!  
     I recorded segments of their award winning mission while I supervised the bridge.  I put the segments together into a short presentation below.  Enjoy watching a great team in action.  

Mr. Williamson

The Tiger Squadron's Final Mission for the 2021-2022 School Year   

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Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Staff of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center Gather for a Summer Planning Breakfast. My Students Transition to a European Parliamentary Democracy and are About to Learn Some Hard Lessons in Life. Imaginarium Theater

     Saturday, May 7th.  The staff of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center gathered for an early, pre-private mission breakfast. The fixens were good; sausages, waffles, fruit, bagels, and scrambled eggs.  

     Gone were the old staples of a Space Center breakfast; Gogurts, Tampico, and nearly all you could eat Walmart glazed donuts. The Space Center has come a long way. 


     A television was brought in to ensure the younglings had a screen to stare at just in case face to face conversation led to awkward pauses.  Old cartoons from their collective childhoods was on the line up.  

     Matt and Tabitha Ricks made it a family outing by bringing their young daughter.  There was a sea of outstretched arms wanting to hold her.  She represented the next generation of Space Center volunteer.    

     It was good seeing Jon Parker doing something other than flight directing the Cassini.  He has proven once again that he is definitely NOT a one trick pony.  On a side note, the scrambled eggs needed more salt, but I'm not one to complain :)  On another side note, I would have paid good American money (not that phoney Canadian stuff) to see Jon in a hair net as he scrambled the eggs.

     Mr. Porter conducted a staff meeting after breakfast was cleared away.  The Space Center is preparing for a busy summer camp season.  James wore his summer shorts to set the proper atmosphere for the occasion.  
     The staff and volunteers of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and The Space Place at Renaissance Academy are offering a nice assortment of summer space camps.  Visit their websites to learn more: and 

The Art and Science of Experiential Learning.  My Class Transitions to Post World War I Germany 

      My 6th Grade history classes completed our World War I / Absolute Monarchy simulation and retired our beloved Czar Tyler.  He did a great job getting us through the Russo/Japanese War and getting us into World War I as Russia.  On Monday the students arrived to see the room transformed into post World War I Germany.  

The new doorway sign as you enter my classroom

The Flag and Signs Behind the Chancellor's Desk in my classroom

     This unit has a couple objectives.  1) Students participate in a European style parliamentary democracy.  2)  Students learn economics through the hyperinflation soon to befall them - the same hyperinflation that decimated the German mark during the Weimar Republic. 3)  Students will understand the how and why of the rise of fascism and nationalism and the reasons for World War 2. 

A few of the morning newspapers greeting the students when they arrive to school 

     Of course, this simulation runs in the background of our normal history curriculum. We are learning about the Aztec, Incas, and Mayans right now and next week will introduce the Reformation.  

     A parliamentary democracy needs political parties.  My classes created two parties: The German Innocents and The German Destiny Parties.  Elections for the nation's Reichstag were held on Thursday.  The students spent Monday - Wednesday campaigning.  Preparing yourself, there was a good deal of mudslinging going on in the campaign. Politics can be a dirty business.           

     The results of Thursday's elections were given in Friday's newspaper. One member of each party counted the votes and did the percentages (great way to teach math, right).  

     A new government will form on Monday.  This government will be tasked with honoring the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Good Luck in that!  Who says learning history is boring???

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Behind the Scenes: The Telling of the 5 Hour Mission Silhouette on the Starship Voyager. Perfection in the Art and Science of Space EdVentures. Imaginarium Theater.

The Starship Voyager was busy with public missions on Saturday.  A prom group occupied the starship Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon was reserved for an adult group wanting the Voyager experience. The group was made up of space edventure enthusiasts. They are regulars at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Saturday was their 2nd visit to the Voyager for a 5 hour mission. 

Going on a Bracken Funk and Megan Warner Voyager mission is to experience perfection in the art and science of space edventuring.  While I pioneered and perfected this form of techno-storytelling over the last 38 years, I proudly admit there are some practitioners who have mastered the art and science of space edventuring far beyond my capabilities.  These folks are master storytellers, excellent actors, and encouraging supervisors. In addition to those things, a master in the art and science of Space EdVenturing is someone who can also write and produce outstanding missions. It is a person with the skills to render a mission into usable Thorium script and illustrate it with eye catching tactical screens.  

Bracken Funk is such a master.  Put him in the flight director seat with the great Megan Warner to see the Voyager's dream team in action. Adding a reliable and talented staff of supervisors and volunteers is the next ingredient to a perfect mission. With everything in place, sit back and watch the magic happen.     

The Voyager's Volunteers prepare for Saturday's 5 hour mission. Mark (seated center) is the chief supervisor of the crew.  He is also today's stage makeup artist.

The Voyager's volunteers and supervisors are mostly Renaissance Academy students and former students who've entered high school.  All but a couple of the volunteers pictured above are in the school's SpaceTech class.  SpaceTech is a one period class taught during the school day for credit to our 7 - 9 graders.  In Space Tech students learn the philosophy of Space Edventuring along with both the art and science of the discipline.  Students learn how to write missions, how to script a mission in Thorium, stage makeup, set design, graphic illustration, and more.  

Silhouette is under way with Bracken at FD and Megan at IIFX.  

Mr. Robinson is preparing to play the lead in the mission.  He is the school's middle school history, speech, and debate teacher.  He co-teaches SpaceTech with Bracken.  

The Voyager Control Room, the nerve center of the largest Space EdVenture simulator in the network.  The Voyager consists of a large bridge, a separate sick bay room, a separate engineering room, a transpod, a brig, and four hallways.  

The Mission Photo Gallery

Lincoln is keeping the seat warm for Megan.  Megan played an admiral in the story and needed to pay occasional visits to the bridge

Bracken and Megan visit the bridge in character (President and Admiral) 
to question the captain

Jackson, one of our school's 9th graders, played the role of the Admirals Assistant.

With the pleasantries completed, the captain asks the president 
if he'd like a tour of the ship.

The staff and volunteers monitor the mission through CCTV cameras

The control room fridge is a necessity, especially on a long 5 hour mission.

Lincoln prepares to take the supervisor position on the bridge. Voyager bridge supervisors wear referee stripes. Visiting crews are taught that the person in stripes is the helper when needed and the referee whenever the phasers are used in battle

The volunteers are armed and ready to enter the bridge as space marines

The Voyager's bridge map

Presenting a short video showing the staff at work on yesterday's mission

A great time was had by all.  If you would like to learn more about booking a group mission and / or would like to learn about summer space camps on the Voyager please visit the web site:  

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