Have Spacesuit – Will Travel, And It Did!
October 9, 2009: The spacesuit did travel, to North County High School and South River High School in Maryland. The suit, a genuine Sokol spacesuit, was shown to 210 students participating in the Have Spacesuit — Will Travel educational program sponsored by The Heinlein Prize Trust, World Space Week, and Astronaut Leroy Chiao, Ph.D. who accompanied the spacesuit to the classes. As well as seeing the spacesuit, fifteen students actually got to wear it, assisted by astronauts Don Thomas and Leroy Chiao.
The spacesuit and the astronauts’ visit created a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm in the two schools. Besides the science, technology, engineering and math students participating, the suit was sketched by students in art classes. One school had a fashion design class come in to sketch some “space inspired” clothing designs. School newspapers and yearbooks came in for interviews and to take pictures, and the local CBS television station in Baltimore (WJZ) taped a segment about the event (link: watch the interview here) for their morning show. Teachers were equally enthusiastic. One teacher said her students came up to her and asked, “What did our school do to deserve having a real spacesuit come to the school?”.
What the students did was follow the free middle school teacher educational activities guide provided by The Heinlein Prize Trust and the World Space Week Association. The guide includes excerpts from Robert A. Heinlein’s classic adventure novel, Have Spacesuit – Will Travel, with twelve activities, six each in science and language arts, based on the excerpts. Robert A. Heinlein™ was one of the greatest American science fiction authors. Have Spacesuit – Will Travel, about a youth and written for youths, is the ideal book to both motivate students to read and to understand the science behind space travel.
The Heinlein Prize Trust works with World Space Week on the World Space Week Heinlein Teacher Guide, collection of science and language arts activities based on the book Have Spacesuit – Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein™, for use in grades 5 through 9.
Visit the World Space Week website for more information and activity guides.
Also visit Dr. Chiao’s website and blog for more information.
To learn more about the Have Spacesuit — Will Travel program visit www.hsswt.com.
The Heinlein Prize Trust will be at the international astronautics congress in Korea the week of October 12th. Ten thousand copies of the Have Spacesuit — Will Travel program materials will be distributed for free to teachers in Korean. The Have Spacesuit — Will Travel materials are now available to anyone on Earth for free in Korean, English, Spanish and Japanese. The Korean materials are available for download here.