''Hi, I'm Dottie and this is Kjell. We are NASA astronauts. We spend a lot of time in the gym working out to prepare for our time in space. The cool thing is that most of what we do, you can do at home. Astronauts need strong bone density and muscle endurance in space. Today, we'll show you the 'Jump for the Moon' activity so you too can train like an astronaut.''
The NASA astronauts were describing a jump training exercise in a video as part of NASA's Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut Program, which 60 lucky Jamestown Public School middle school students in the Jefferson and Washington Advantage After School Programs will join on Jan. 31. Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut is an international fitness challenge that aims to increase opportunities for students to become more physically and mentally active. This challenge uses the excitement of space exploration and astronaut training to challenge, inspire and educate students to set physical fitness goals and to practice physical fitness and proper nutrition. Students will explore mission challenges over a nine-week period and learn the science behind nutrition. NASA, European Space Agency, scientists and fitness professionals collaboratively developed the program's activities. Student and teacher handouts and learning resources such as videos, point rubrics to track students' progress and mission journals to collect data are all provided.
''This initiative fits perfectly with best practice in afterschool programming, because it complements and extends the learning that occurs during the school day, particularly in core subject areas like ELA, science and math, while providing exciting, relevant, interactive opportunities for students to learn new skills and discover new interests after the regular school day has ended,'' said Julie Poppleton, JPS director of afterschool programming. ''The Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut challenge further aligns with 21st Century objectives by encouraging physical fitness and healthful nutrition - personal wellness habits that contribute to kids' optimum growth and development as they transition from youth to adulthood.''
Southwestern Central School graduate Laurie Abadie, who works for Johnson Space Center, contacted JPS Science Coordinator Dave Currie to see if there would be interest in the program. Mr. Currie thought the JPS After School Program would be the perfect place to run the active and academic program.
Retired teacher Richard Stineman will also work with students on four standards-based science units that accompany the Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut curriculum (Hydration of an Astronaut, Living Bones, Strong Bones, Hydration and Gravity) and also plans to incorporate additional GEMS science curriculum from the ''Messages From Space'' and ''Earth, Moon and Stars'' learning guidebooks.
As a culminating activity, students will visit the Dresser-Rand Challenge Center in Olean to experience the simulators that expose students to Haley's Comet or Mission to Mars and have the opportunity to participate in designing, building and launching their own rockets.
''I believe the Train Like an Astronaut Challenge is important to recognize and celebrate because it demonstrates the exceptional out-of-school-time experiences we are able to afford kids in our community with funding from our 21st Century grant,'' said Mrs. Poppleton. 'It underscores the value of after school time spent in an exciting, meaningful and productive way.''