WonderWorks Syracuse Holds WonderKids Event and School Visits with Astronaut
LinkedIn

SYRACUSE, New York – On June 16, 2018, WonderWorks Syracuse held an out-of-this-world WonderKids event, featuring a special guest and awarding students who had been nominated from area schools for their achievements. The event gave nominees who were picked for the WonderKids award and the public the chance to meet and greet with Dr. Donald Thomas, an astronaut who shared his experiences with the group of having completed four missions to space.

“This was a great event. Everyone who attended had a wonderful time, it was very exciting to meet Dr. Thomas and learn about  his missions to space,” says Nicole Montgomery, director of operations at WonderWorks Destiny. “We also get to recognize students in our area. We are very proud of their accomplishments and happy to honor them.”

Wonder Kids is an event that allows educators to recognize their students’ achievements throughout the year. Teachers were asked to nominate students who show extraordinary characteristics in and outside of the classroom.  All attendees receive prizes and free admissions to WonderWorks the day of the event, and are two grand prize winners selected for each category; the following were the winners of each category:

Academic Excellence:

Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Grace Mclean

Grade range 6th – 12th  – grades – Grace O’Neil

Service to Community:

Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Caitlyn Cook

Grade range 6th – 12th grades – Jose Mateo

Future Scientist:

Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Jacquelyn Gangemi

Grade range 6th – 12th grades – Tristan Ellerbruch

The WonderKids Program is held each year, honoring kids from the WonderWorks Destinycommunity who have been nominated by their teacher for various areas of  student achievement. There are three areas where kids will be honored, including academic excellence, service to community, and future scientist. All students receive a certificate for their achievements and bags of goodies from businesses that partner with WonderWorks. All nominees alsoget  free entrance into the WonderWorks the day of the event. Grand prize winners received large prize packages including items such WonderWorks annual passes, Destiny Day Passes, Comic-Con passes, Bears from Build-a-Bear, Dave & Busters prize packs, and more.

Dr. Thomas, who was the guest speaker at the event, also spent time visiting local schools on Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, 2018. He visited Huntington, Syracuse Academy of Sciences, Bellevue Elementary, Roberts, Delaware, and Syracuse Latin. His mission is to share his out-of-this-world experiences and inspire kids to learn more about STEM-related topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Selected by NASA in January 1990, he became an astronaut in July 1991. During his career there he spent time in the Safety, Operations, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Offices. He was also a spacecraft communicator for several shuttle missions, spent time in various other key roles, and went on four space flights.

“Lots of people got to meet Dr. Thomas and get their picture taken with him,” added Montgomery. “We are already looking forward to our  next WonderKids event.”

WonderWorks offers a variety of fun family friendly interactive activities to engage in, including a laser tag arena, 4D XD Motion Theater, Canyon Climb Adventure, and WonderZones – offering a variety of areas to explore, such as natural disasters, physical challenges, light and sound zones, imagination lab, and space discovery. They also offer a Sky Tykes ropes course. WonderWorks’ trademark is “I think, therefore I STEM.” They are focused on providing visitors with a variety of hands-on STEM-related activities.

WonderWorks DestinyAbout WonderWorks WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park located in Destiny USA, combines education and entertainment with over 100 hands-on exhibits. There is something unique and challenging for all ages. Adventures include: The Hurricane Shack, feel the power of 71 mph hurricane–force winds, The Bubble Lab, make huge, life–sized bubbles, The Astronaut Training Gyro, get the NASA treatment and experience zero gravity, Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks is also home to two indoor ropes courses, Canyon Climb, which is the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course, and Sky Tykes, which is a confidence booster climb for small children. WonderWorks also hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Opens daily at 10 a.m. wonderworksdestiny.com.

# # #

This American Astronaut Voted from Space. Here’s how She did it.
LinkedIn
Astronaut Kate Rubins

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins casting her vote from some 200 miles above Earth should be all the motivation you need to make a plan to vote this year.

Rubins, the only American voter not currently on Earth, said she was able to vote from the International Space Station last week.
This isn’t the first time Rubins has cast her ballot from space: She voted in 2016 when she was also researching at the space station.
Rubins, along with two Russian cosmonauts, began their mission earlier this month and will spend a total of six months in space as part of the Expedition 63/64 crew. Rubins will research “the use of laser-cooled atoms for future quantum sensors” and conduct cardiovascular experiments from the space station, according to NASA.

How to vote from space

Astronauts registered to vote in Texas got the right to vote from space in 1997, when Texas lawmakers ruled they could electronically cast their ballot off-planet if they’d be on a spaceflight during the early-voting period or Election Day, according to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
How High School Robotics is Healing Afghanistan
LinkedIn
Four Afghanistan teen girls on stage accepting their robotics award

Since 2017, an all-girls robotics team in Herat, Afghanistan, has taken the world by storm.

Within a short period of time, the group of seven teenagers won silver medals at the First Global Challenge robotics competition in Washington and for winning the entrepreneur challenge at the biggest robotics competition in Europe.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that a group of girls put their heads together to create vital and accessible medical equipment needed to treat coronavirus patients. Taking inspiration from an MIT design, the girls finalized their version of an easily accessible and cost-effective ventilator, a necessary piece of equipment that cannot be easily found among Afghanistan’s medical centers. The ventilator calls for a lighter, more portable, battery-operated design that would cost as little as $700 to obtain a rather than normal $20,000. Though these plans were completely put together by the girls, Harvard University stood with the girls as a source of advice and support.

Somaya Faruqi, one of the members of the robotic team, said of the designs, “We are delighted that we were able to take our step into the field of medicine and to be able to serve the people in this area as well.”

The designs have been submitted to the World Health Organization for approval and have gained great support from Afghanistan’s Minister of Health, praising the girls for their “initiative and creativity in Afghanistan’s health sector…”

FDA greenlights 1st video-game based treatment for children with ADHD
LinkedIn
screenshot of a new video game for adhd with many colors

The first video game-based treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The video game, called EndeavorRx and approved on Monday, will be prescription only and aimed at children between the ages of eight and 12 with certain types of ADHD.

It will be used alongside other treatments, such as clinician-directed therapy, medication and educational programs.

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder which is usually first diagnosed in children and can last into adulthood.

Approximately 4 million children aged six to 11 are affected by ADHD, the symptoms of which include difficulty staying focused and paying attention and difficulty controlling behavior.

This is the first game-based therapy to be granted marketing authorization by the FDA for any condition, the agency said.

“The EndeavorRx device offers a non-drug option for improving symptoms associated with ADHD in children and is an important example of the growing field of digital therapy and digital therapeutics,” Dr Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a press release.

The game, which can be downloaded as an app onto a mobile device, was authorized for marketing after the FDA reviewed five clinical studies that included more than 600 children.

The agency noted that some negative effects were reported, such as frustration, headache, dizziness, emotional reaction and aggression, but said there were no “serious” adverse effects reported.

While playing the game, children steer an avatar through a course dotted with obstacles, collecting targets to earn rewards.

Akili, the company that created EndeavorRx, has said that children should interact with the game 30 minutes per day, five days a week over the course of a one-month treatment cycle.

Continue on to KTLA News to read the complete article.

Curbing COVID: How one Nine-Year-Old is Protecting His Country
LinkedIn
Stephen Wamukota demonstrating the water pump

Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old boy living in Mukwa Village in Kenya, has just received a presidential award for his latest invention, set to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While watching television one day, Stephen came across a program that was informing its viewers how they can prevent themselves from spreading the virus. From this program, Stephen learned of the importance of regular handwashing.

While there are currently no cases of the virus in Stephen’s hometown, Kenya has experienced about 2,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 69 of those cases resulting in death, and the virus still has a possibility of spreading to Stephen’s village.

To keep himself and those in his community safe, Stephen decided to build a no-touch handwashing machine. Made primarily from a wooden window frame and a bucket, Stephen’s device is simple yet effective. Rather than touching the nozzle that has been touched by many others in the community, Stephen’s machine is powered by a foot pedal that releases the handwashing water from a bucket, allowing for others to wash their hands with little contamination. His father, James Wamukota, helped Stephen make the device.

Now having produced two of these machines and aspiring to build more, Stephen has received Kenya’s Presidential Order of Service Award and was promised a scholarship from his country’s governor, which Stephen hopes to use to become an engineer.

 

WonderWorks Syracuse Now Accepting Nominations for WonderKids Program
LinkedIn
grade school children visiting with former astronaut

WonderWorks Syracuse is now accepting nominations for its annual WonderKids program. The program recognizes high-achieving students in the local Central New York community. Nominations will be accepted through May 8, 2020.

All students nominated will be invited to the awards ceremony, where the winner for each category will be announced The ceremony will feature former astronaut Dr. Don Thomas as the keynote speaker, and it will be held on Saturday, June 13, 2020, at 1:00 pm. Teachers who nominate a student to be a WonderKid will also be entering their school for a chance to win a visit from Dr. Thomas to give a presentation about his adventures through space.

“WonderKids is my favorite program that we run each year. It gives teachers a great opportunity to give their students recognition for their accomplishments in a fun and exciting way,” says Nicole Montgomery, General Manager at WonderWorks Syracuse.

“The program allows us to reward students for the effort they put into their education. We’re able to give them something to recognize those efforts and to motivate them to continue their great work.”
WonderWorks offers the WonderKids program each year, and it gives students in the area a chance to stand out for their achievements in a variety of categories. All students nominated to be a WonderKids must be nominated by a teacher. There are several areas students can be nominated for, including their service to the community, academic excellence, and future scientists. The number of nominations accepted is limited, so teachers should submit them early.

The WonderKids nomination categories include:

• Academic Excellence – This will go to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the area of academics. They are typically students who have exceeded expectations and have an appreciation for learning.
• Service to the Community – This award will be given to a student who helps others and goes above and beyond in doing so. This WonderKid is someone who has a great sense of self-awareness and demonstrates compassion for others.
• Future Scientist – This will be awarded to a student who has a passion for the sciences. They have demonstrated that they love to discover, innovate, and may one day change the world through science.

“We have been hosting WonderKids for several years now, and it has been a great success,” added Montgomery. “It’s a great way for WonderWorks to engage with the community and inspire the next generation of great students and scientists.”

Nominations are open to students in 10 Central New York counties: Onondaga, Oswego, Jefferson, Oneida, Madison, Cortland, Seneca, Tompkins, Chenango and Cayuga. Each nominee will be invited to enjoy WonderWorks for the day, along with three guests of their choosing.

In addition to Dr. Thomas being the keynote speaker at the ceremony, he will also visit select schools in the area on the days leading up to the ceremony. He will be visiting schools on June 11-12, 2020. The schools that will receive the visit are yet to be determined. He will give a presentation focusing on the celebration of his career and journey through space.

For more information or to nominate a student, visit the site: wonderworksonline.com/destiny/wonderkids/.

About WonderWorks
WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park, combines both education and entertainment into one venue. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71 mph hurricane-force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make life-sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment and experience zero gravity in our Astronaut Training Gyro. Nail it by lying on the death-defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks has locations in Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Panama City Beach, Myrtle Beach, Syracuse and Branson.

For more information, visit WonderWorksonline.com/destiny and follow @WonderWorksDestiny on Facebook, @WonderWorksDUSA on Twitter, and @WonderWorks_dusa on Instagram.

Kayla Barron Graduates as NASA Astronaut with Eye on Artemis Missions
LinkedIn
Astronaut Candidate Kayla in spacesuit

Washington native Kayla Barron joined the rest of NASA’s first class of astronaut candidates under the Artemis program, for a graduation ceremony on Friday, Jan. 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

After completing more than two years of basic training, she is eligible for spaceflight assignments to the International Space Station (ISS), Artemis missions to the Moon, and future missions to Mars.

The ceremony aired live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The class included 11 NASA candidates, as well as two Canadian Space Agency (CSA) candidates, selected in 2017. The NASA candidates, including Barron, were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. The CSA candidates have been training alongside their NASA classmates.

Barron, a U.S. Navy lieutenant, is originally from Richland, Washington. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Barron earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. As a submarine warfare officer, Barron served aboard the USS Maine (SSBN 741), completing three strategic deterrent patrols. She came to NASA from the U.S. Naval Academy, where she was serving as the flag aide to the superintendent.

All astronaut candidates have completed training in spacewalking, robotics, ISS systems, T-38 jet proficiency, and Russian language. At the ceremony, each candidate will receive an astronaut pin, marking their graduation from basic training and their eligibility to be selected to fly in space.

As astronauts, they’ll help develop spacecraft, support the teams currently in space and ultimately, have the opportunity to join the ranks of only about 500 people who have had the honor of going into space. NASA continues its work aboard the space station, which is preparing to mark the 20th consecutive year of humans living onboard in November 2020. The agency also is on the verge of launching Americans from American soil aboard commercial spacecraft and is preparing to send humans to the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

Source:  prnewswire.com

Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

ShareSpace Education Donates Giant Mars and Moon Map™ to Challenger Learning Centers Across the Country
LinkedIn
Giant Moon and Mars Maps are pictured side by side

STEAM-based educational tools spark excitement around space exploration.

ShareSpace Education, a key program of the Aldrin Family Foundation (AFF), partnered with Challenger Center, a leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education organization, to donate three Giant Mars Map™ and one Giant Moon Map™ Interactive education packages promoting STEAM education in four Challenger Learning Centers (Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College, IL; Challenger Learning Center of Northern Nevada, NV; Challenger STEM Learning Center; University of Tennessee Chattanooga, TN; and Challenger Learning Center of Lockport, NY).

Each package includes a 15-foot x 15-foot map, four Welcome to Mars/Welcome to the Moon books, the Mars/Moon Map Curriculum package developed in collaboration with Purdue University, and access to in-person and online program training from the ShareSpace Foundation. The value of each Giant Mars Map™ / Giant Mars Map™ package is valued at $5,000.

“We are excited that these four Challenger Learning Centers will have Giant Mars Map™ or Giant Moon Map™ interactive education packages to offer to their students and community,” said Denise Kopecky, Vice President of Education, Challenger Center. “Every day at our Centers, students travel to space when they fly our simulation-based missions. These maps are another way for students and members of these communities to experience the excitement and wonder of space.”

“Giant Mars and Moon Maps are a means for sparking creativity in kids while they sit, stand, walk, play and learn together,” said Dr. Andrew Aldrin, president of AFF. “We are honored to partner with an incredible organization like Challenger Center and share this unique STEAM experience with their next generation across the United States.”

Each year, AFF works with donors to make Giant Mars Map™ packages available for distribution. Individual schools, school districts and informal education organizations submit applications, which are reviewed by an independent team of judges. Map recipients are selected with the goal of reaching people and places where the map can be used as an authentic teaching tool to help children develop an understanding for real-world, STEAM-based concepts using the Red Planet as the focal point.

About the Aldrin Family Foundation
The Aldrin Family Foundation (AFF) strives to cultivate the next generation of space leaders, entrepreneurs and explorers who will extend human habitation beyond the Earth to the Moon and Mars. AFF’s STEAM-based educational tools, curriculum and programs span from a child’s first classroom experience through graduate school and professional programs. This vertical pathway unites explorers at all levels to learn from each other’s vision for space, ultimately creating the first generation of Martians.

About Challenger Center
As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center provides more than 250,000 students annually with experiential education programs that engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. These programs, delivered in Challenger Learning Centers and classrooms, strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Center was created by the Challenger families to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L. For more information about Challenger Center, please visit challenger.org or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Two female astronauts make history. How to watch NASA’s first all-female spacewalk
LinkedIn
two women in spacesuits pictured working outside spaceship

Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century. That changed recently with spacewalk No. 421.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the International Space Station recently and spevt over five hours replacing a broken battery charger, or BCDU. NASA’s livestream of the historic spacewalk features astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson as one of the female narrators.

The units have previously been replaced using a robotic arm, but the newly failed unit is too far away for it to reach.

The units regulate how much energy flows from the station’s massive solar panels to battery units, which are used to provide power during nighttime passes around Earth. Three previous spacewalks had been planned to replace lithium-ion batteries, but those will be rescheduled until the latest BCDU issue is resolved.

The hardware failure does present some concern, especially since another BCDU was replaced in April and there are only four more backups on the station. In total, there are 24 operational BCDUs.

The battery charger failed after Koch and a male crewmate installed new batteries outside the space station last week. NASA put the remaining battery replacements on hold to fix the problem and moved up the women’s planned spacewalk by three days.

All four men aboard the ISS remained inside during the spacewalk.

The spacewalk is Koch’s fourth and Meir’s first.

Continue on to USA Today to read the complete article.

Teachers Get in Free During Teacher Wonder Days at WonderWorks Orlando
LinkedIn
WonderWorks Orlando

WonderWorks Orlando is inviting teachers in the state of Florida to check out all they have to offer for free on select dates in September and October 2019. During Teacher Wonder Days, educators can learn about all the programs they offer.

Teachers will get free admission into WonderWorks Orlando on Friday and Saturday, September 28-29, 2019 and October 5-6, 2019. Each additional guest they bring will only be $15 per person.

“WonderWorks Orlando looks forward to hosting our annual Teacher Wonder Days, where we invite teachers and their families from all over the state of Florida to experience WonderWorks’ educational, upside down adventure!” says Brian Wayne, general manager of WonderWorks Orlando. “Over 1,500 teachers registered for our 2018 event and we look forward to surpassing that for 2019!”

Teachers who would like to take part in the program need to RSVP online. Each teacher will also receive a goodie bag filled with coupons and items from local businesses and attractions. WonderWorks Orlando will also be giving away door prizes, and there will be a special guest appearance by Professor Wonder. Everyone who attends Teacher Wonder Days will also be entered to win $500 worth of school supplies. Teachers can RSVP at the WonderWorks Orlando website: wonderworksonline.com/orlando/rsvp/.

Educators will not only get a chance to have fun and see the way families are challenged at WonderWorks, but they will also learn about a variety of the programs they offer. The special programs they offer include:

  • School fundraisers. The program allows your school or class to have a spirit night, with your class or school receiving a portion of the proceeds.
  • Sensory days. These are special days where exhibits are altered to provide limited stimulation for children with special needs.
  • Homeschool days. WonderWorks offers special homeschool days with discounted rate for homeschoolers.
  • Scout programs. There are programs offered for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, including appreciation days and sleepovers.
  • School field trip programs. WonderWorks offers a unique educational field trip opportunity, where kids can learn about earth science, physics, astronomy, and more.

WonderWorks in Orlando is an adventure that tourists and locals both enjoy. The indoor amusement park is open 365 days per year from 9:00 a.m. until midnight. WonderWorks features a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, laser tag, 4D XD motion theater, magic comedy dinner show, and the Wonder Zones, which include interactive exhibits on natural disasters, space discovery, light and sound zone, imagination lab, far out art gallery, and a physical challenge zone. With over 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment,” the attraction combines education and entertainment with over 100 hands-on exhibits. To get more information or purchase tickets, visit the site at: wonderworksonline.com/orlando/

Cyber Security Awareness Training for all Ages in Delaware
LinkedIn
image of a breakout box on a table

Children and adults in Sussex County are now getting hands-on cyber security awareness training at the Selbyville library thanks to Cyber Streets and the library itself.

Cyber Streets is a nonprofit organization that was started in Dover back in 2017. Founder Rob Bentley began spreading the knowledge at the Selbyville Library on June 3rd and he now runs the program there every other Monday. The Sussex County Stem Alliance helped connect Bentley to volunteers and this week they’re using what is called the ‘break out box’ to learn how cyber security is used to break into something.

“They go around looking for clues,” Bentley explains. “They find those clues, put them together, and work together as teams to crack the code on the puzzle that actually unlocks the locks to get into the box.”

Thirteen-year-old Eleni Apostolidis of Millsboro has been homeschooled her entire life. She’s thankful for an after-school opportunity that is available to students like her. “It can teach us coding if we want to maybe look into the community a bit more to find tools to maybe create our own software in the future,” she shares.

Most of the students who’ve been attending in Selbyville are homeschooled students but Cyber Streets is open to anyone. Bentley says he teaches people from six to sixty-years-old. In fact, many parents join their kids in these lessons.

The program is completely free. To sign up in Selbyville, reach out to the library or Cyber Streets. Bentley says those interested in attending can simply show up to the next lesson on July 29.

Continue on to WBOC.com to read the complete article.

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

Robert Half