Christa McAuliffe Space Center

Cascade Academy students had the opportunity to go to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The Christa McAuliffe Space Center opened in 1990 as a way to immerse students in space education. The center started with their first simulator known as the Voyager and it has now grown to six simulators. The Space Center has inspired the lives of thousands of children in Utah. Cascade students have now experienced it first hand.

Space simulators create an immersive environment where students can envision themselves in roles involving leadership, engineering, science and more while encountering curriculum based challenges. Cascade Academy students were split into three ships: the Galileo, the Cassini and the Phoenix. Every student had a role they played with the most important being the captain of the ship. Their mission? To save the children of Perikoi.

It was the students’ mission to investigate a planet that houses a culture similar to the Ancient Greeks. These people worship gods that come to the planet every 12 years and take their children. The students had to find out the true nature of these “gods” and decide if they are going to let the cycle continue, or if they will protect this defenseless planet. Perikoi deals with how human society develops in relation to science and religion, while addressing social issues involving child labor. The students each tackled their mission, saved the children of Perikoi and returned to earth safely!

Following their mission students went to the planetarium. The planetarium gave students an in depth look at the outside, and inside, of each planet in our solar system. Perhaps the coolest thing students discovered was an asteroid in the asteroid belt named 16 Psych. Unlike the millions of asteroids orbiting our sun, this one is mostly made of metal. Scientists believe that long ago 16 Psych was a planet hit by a larger object removing the outer crust revealing the metal core. Scientists hope that by studying this asteroid and its metallic makeup we can learn more about Earth’s core and what our planet is made of.

While saving the universe, Cascade Academy students had an amazing time working in groups, taking on new roles and responsibilities, handling stressful situations and solving complex problems. Experiencing difficulties with their peers helped expose them to the benefits of healthy real life conflict. With each success it is amazing to see the growth students are making and how hard they work to overcome the anxiety that once controlled them.

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