Space Foundation Education Trip to Pikes Peak


Photo by Luciana Mendes

The Space Foundation marketing team took a professional development day last Wednesday to learn more about Space Foundation Education. I stepped away from the computer and drove one of 4 vans of teachers up Pikes Peak, a mountain over 14,000 feet high in Colorado (also known as a 14'er). We drove/rode with the "Earth Systems Science" course, offered this year to Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy and Galileo schools in Colorado Springs. Space Discovery Institute, an Education program of the Space Foundation, gave 6 graduate level classes this summer for teachers (18 credits total). These intense hands-on classes gave teachers tools that they could take directly to their students, making their classes more interesting and interactive. A couple other class examples this year included a rocketry class, and a robotics class!


A group of teachers taking the class, measure wind using a device made out of a shoe box.


Photo by Luciana Mendes

Items like this can be created on a tight school budget while still being effective learning tools.


Julie measures her daughter's blood pressure while bonnie uses a GPS to pinpoint our location and elevation. Elevation has an effect on blood pressure. It drops as you get higher.


Photo by Luciana Mendes Geology was a topic discussed at different points. I was interested to hear how fault activity tells a story with angle of the rock lines, and types of mineral present.


PH balance was measured at available water sources along the way up Pikes Peak. The peak itself can be seen in the background.


Photo by Luciana Mendes

Luciana took a closer photograph of the peak from the same location. The gift shop there can be seen.


We stopped mid-way for lunch and some complimentary sluicing. Luciana picks out different stones from sand, much like miners back in the day would sift through dirt for gold.


Paul locates some incredible treasure.


The view from several points of Pikes Peak was fantastic!


Jay points out the mountain ranges and geology in the surrounding area.


An alternate route to the peak of Pikes Peak is the cog train. I hear the scenic route the train takes is much faster than taking a car. I also heard that people who get elevation sickness more easily get sick more easily on this train. I wouldn't take that into much consideration though and will have to check it out sometime. The peak also holds a gift shop/quick food. They're 'famous' for the donuts. I wasn't very interested in them. The coffee tasted awful. It must have been an off day, but it sure did get busy when the train arrived!


Photo provided by Janet Stevens Space Foundation teachers and staff got together for a group picture at the top of the mountain. Everyone had a great time, and learned a TON. It was great to have the chance to get to know people more and what they do. Now it's time to get the Education website finished. It's turning out to be AWESOME, especially with everyone pitching in on these new Drupal sites. IMPORTANT: If you are traveling to Pikes Peak, take sun screen!! I failed to think about it, and had a great red tinge by the time we were back in Colorado Springs. Being on the mountain gave me the sensation that I was cool and burning at the same time. It turned out that I WAS burning in that cool air! Now I'm peeling. Eww!

Posted: 2009-08-15