Friday, December 31, 2010

Report: Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp 3

Dear All,

Here's the 3rd part of the 4 parts report on my experiences at the HONEYWELL NASA Educators@SpaceCamp.

In this report I'll describe in detailed what I have learnt at the camp.


Rodney Tan
3) What were the contents of the program

This programme provided an opportunity to feed my fascination with space and technology. It was structured along the American Space Programme and many of the lessons were developed by NASA with the cooperation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teachers in the US.

For a detailed listing of all the activities, please go to:  and click ‘Sample Educators Workshop Description’

The main activities can be divided into Maths, Science, History, Team Building, Guest Speakers and Museum Visit.

Maths activities

Martian Maths

An interactive and energetic session for learning basic skills, factorials, probability and order of operations. Adaptable for other subjects.

NASA's Engineering Design Challenges – Thermal Design

This activity replicates engineering challenges faced by NASA engineers. Working under the supervision of our facilitators, we design, build, test, re-design, and re-build models that meet specified design criteria. We employed the same analytical skills as engineers as they improve their designs.

Built Environment

Using measurement, graphing, volume, ratio, scale, proportion and model making, we build a moon or mars colony out of found items. We use critical thinking and decision making to create an out of this world environment. Numerous activities using math to solve real world problems are included.

Science Activities

Lunar Stations

In this multi station workshop we explored various themes as our students would prepare to inhabit the moon. The stations cover rovers, craters, volcanoes, and soil experiments.

On to Mars

This workshop contains various activities that will be necessary in the exploration of Mars. Designing the perfect Mars Lander, soil activities, and other fun Mars themed activities will get your entire class motivated to be the first explorers to Mars! Activities are provided by the Arizona State University Mars Project.

Toys in Space

In 1985 & 1993, toys were taken into space so students on earth could learn about how things they were familiar with reacted in microgravity. This workshop utilizes various physics principals, using common toys and the participants predict what will happen to them in microgravity. The videos are on the Internet, so students can see exactly how the toys reacted in space.

Both Science & Math

Rocket Construction

We design, select materials, construct and launch water bottle rockets. Each group will form a "company" as well as assign tasks to each team member. Groups will complete a scaled drawing of the rocket, test the rockets for stability and accuracy, and keep a budget. This activity is based on NASA's rocketry curriculum.

Engine Rockets were also built utilizing higher level math and physics. This workshop also covered ways to bring rocketry across the high school curriculum. It is based on activities developed by Estes and Team America Rocketry Challenge.

Mission Patch

We learnt about the history and symbolism of space mission patches and we then apply our knowledge in creating a patch that uniquely captures the characteristics of our individual team along with the goals of our simulated mission.

Living & Working in Space

We learnt about what it is like to live and work in space including food, exercise, experiments and how to go to the bathroom.


History of Space Program

Ed Buckbee, founder of Space Camp, recounted the early days of NASA in Huntsville. We heard about interesting and humourous stories from behind the scenes at NASA and Space Camp and receive a copy of his book, The Real Space Cowboys.


During the week, we explored the museum, and counsellors brief us on the following topics:

History of Space Travel

Rocket City Legacy

Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs

Pathfinder and the Shuttle Program

Rocket Park

Davidson Center for Space Exploration and the restored Saturn V rocket

Team Building


Shuttle Orientation

We were introduced to the major components of the Space Transportation System, as well as the highlights of a mission sequence. The topics were illustrated using hands-on activities that can easily be transferred to the classroom setting.

Mission Overview

We were given an overview of the mission in which we will participate. A description of the different simulation areas of the mission was given, along with an explanation of astronaut and ground positions and responsibilities.

Mission Training

Here we were provided with specific, in-depth training on how to conduct our simulated shuttle mission. The training was conducted in all areas of the mission simulation including cockpit procedures, EVA procedures, satellite deployment, scientific experimentation aboard Space Station, and Mission Control responsibilities. Practice time was given in following specific checklists and solving problems.

Space Shuttle Mission

We conducted a simulated space shuttle mission during the week. Specific activities in the mission include launch and landing of the shuttle, satellite deployment, assembly of a large space structure, and conducting of experiments while in space. In this scenario, we were challenged with various types of problems that require teamwork and critical thinking in order to solve the problems and have a successful mission.

Astronaut Simulators

The unique sensations of space flight were reinforced through the use of simulators, such as the 1/6 gravity chair that allows a person to experience how astronauts trained to walk on the moon. The MMU is a full-sized mock-up of NASA’s Manned Manoeuvring Unit. The Multi-Axis Trainer allowed us to experience the dramatic sensation of being aboard a tumbling aircraft. All the simulators were patterned after actual simulators used for training NASA astronauts. The simulators were also tools for demonstrating and experiencing Newton Laws of Motion. However, the Astronaut Simulators have a weight limit.

IMAX Theater

We saw a movie filmed in IMAX at the Omnimax Theater. It showed the amazing space images captured by the Hubble and the rescue mission to fix-up the Hubble Telescope.

All these activities were put together to give teachers the resources and ideas to excite their students in learning Space Science.

Hoot Gibson - ex-military test plane pilot, Shuttle pilot & currently a commercial airline pilot
giving a very informative talk about his interest in Space flight. He flew 5 shuttle missions.

I was standing on the mezzanine floor and releasing the craft that was supposed to land the egg safely.

Our first briefing before starting the Educators Space Camp activities. Giving the briefing is Ruth.
She's the head honcho for the entire Educators@SpaceCamp programme.

Setting up my model rocket at bay 12 before the electronic launch. Notice the wires!

Our team Kibo's team building activity. I'm sure you can identify me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun: A Recipe For Academic Success

A Recipe For Academic Success


• Lots of books, especially academic books and reference books

• A fistful of ambition and strong will-power

• Heaps of effort and

• a dash of diligence and persistence


• Large doses of prayer and

• support from parents, teachers and friends.

• Sprinklings of luck for that added oomph.


• Mix everything up and get a strong taste of success!

Poem: Courage To Teach, Courage To Lead



“ If we are a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less”
Lee Iacoca

Those who can, Do

Those who can do More,


Good teaching

comes from

the identity and integrity

of the teacher.

Who is the self who teaches?

Let Your Life


through your teaching.



Gifts and Capabilities

Results.... Fruit.....

From Caring Comes Courage.

Nurture your caring.

Criticize less,

create more.

Hate less,

love more.

Worry less,

laugh more.

Fear less,

hope more.

Remember that the greatest

reward you get for your efforts

is not what you get for them

but what you become by them.

If you can’t find a way

through the crowd,

make your own path.

Listen to your heart beating.

Don’t let the words you teach

be at odds with what

you feel in your heart

and the way you live your life

On the path of life

few signs are big or clear.

Just don’t get fooled

by the ones that say,

“ You can’t get there from here.”

Don’t settle

for being

what you

used to be

or have been.

Keep reaching for what

you can yet become.


each day you have exactly

the same number of minutes as

Mother Teresa

Helen Keller

Martin Luther King


Let every moment

be an opportunity to

create a memory

touch a life.... light the way.... make a difference

to make the ordinary extraordinary

to give hope.

Let Your Life


The only way to determine our future is to create it.

The choices and actions

we make today

have an impact for the next 10 years.

Therefore be strong and courageous.

Live so that when

other people think of

integrity, enthusiasm,

commitment and caring,

they think of you.

The time is now.

The leader is you.

We are the keepers and guardians

of the future of our nation.

If not the future of our nation, then what?

If not now, when?

If not you, who?

Those who can, DO

Those who can DO MORE,


Those who TEACH


By Ms. Khoo Seok Lin (Singapore)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vocabulary Fun : MENSA Invitational


The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are some of the winners:

Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future

Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

6. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

7. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

8. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

9. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

10. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

11. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

12. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

13. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Inspiring Book for Educators : Brother Michael Jacques -The Man From Borneo

I've just purchased a book on an outstanding educator and educationist. An exceptional 390 page autobiography about an imminent teacher, administrator, visionary who serve 48 of his best years in the field of education in Malaysia and beyond.

He is a proud Sarawakian of mixed parentage (English French Hakka) and is now 94 years old. His influence is felt in the Lasallian schools which had been established throughout the region of South and Southeast Asia. He has travelled far & wide in the course of his work & mission.

In Malacca, he was one of St. Francis Institution's administrator and he helped set up a number of similar schools throughout the region.

As a biography of his life and his contributions to education and Roman Catholicism, there's much history written about our nation and its education system especially those which relates to the excellent education that is received by those who have gone through such schooling.

As a fellow educator, I would like to learn from this passionate fellow educator.

For an inspiring review of the man & his book, please go to:

Looking forward to a good, informative read.

Rodney Tan

P.S. You can get a 20% discount if you are a Popular Bookstore card member.
The video of the book launch is courtesy of the STAR online.
Bro. Michael suffered from a stroke in March of 2010 &
is hospitalized at the Assunta Hospital, PJ. (Picture fom The STAR)

Brother Michael Jacques:
"Someone for All";
"The Educator’s Educator";
"We should never despair while we still have life.
I shall have to make the best of it.
My watchword is to live as authentic a life as possible,
for the relatively short time remaining to me."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Announcement: Malacca ACS 100th Anniversary Centenary Dinner 2011

Dear All,

This announcement is for ALL ex-Malacca Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) students, teachers, administrators and friends.

The school is currently known as SMK Methodist ACS Melaka.

Do buy up the dinner tickets by the table (10 seats) and sit in a table together with your old friends/classmates/colleagues. Buy one seat also for your favourite teacher!

Contact info is below. You can also ring up the school during office hours at 06-2823434.

I'll be there!

Rodney Tan
Latest update:
Tables are being taken up very quickly. Less than 10 tables are available as of 18/1/2011. There will not be any additional tables added due to space constraints.

Amongst the souveniers available are the Centenary t-shirts, keychains and the commemorative coffeetable book. The keychains are free but the rest are for sale.

Contact Victor Chin/Ben Toh for commemorative coffeetable book bookings.

2nd Latest Update: (30/1/2011)
Almost all the tables have been firmly taken up. There maybe still a few more seats available. Please contact Mr Lee Bun Chuan (Principal) 012-3950349 or Mr. Tan Beng Siang @ 019-6663358

100th Anniversary Neon Logo in front of
the Wesley Methodist Church in Jalan Tengkera - day view

100th Anniversary Neon Logo in front of
the Wesley Methodist Church in Jalan Tengkera - night view

Old Boys (MACSians) 100th Anniversary Logo

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blessed Christmas & A Prosperous New Year 2011

To all my English Teachers'Network readers and 'followers',

Wishing all who are Christians a Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2011.

Happy holidays and best wishes of the season to all.

Rodney Tan

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Newspaper Write Up: My Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp 2010 Experience

Here's the cut out of the write up that The New Straits Times 'Learning Curve' did on my recent experience at the Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp 2010.

Online Version:

I would like to encourage all teachers (not only from Malaysia) to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre to experience astronaut training and how to incorporate NASA developed Space and Flight educational materials into our teaching.

It's a really fun experience of learning and networking with teachers from all over the world and the USA. On the last night we had a fantastic dinner, dance with live music right under an actual Saturn V rocket in the Davidson Space and Flight Centre.

All the best!

Rodney Tan

P.S. Please click on the picture to enlarge it. I had to remove my spectacles so that they don't fly off  as this multi-axis trainer spins in all directions!

Cutting from the New Straits Times 'Learning Curve' Sunday 12/12/2010

Online article of the article
Go to:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Report: Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp 2

Dear All,

This is the second part of my experience attending the Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp.

I will be talking about how this camp will help me in my teaching.


Rodney Tan
2) What knowledge have you gained from the program that can assist you in teaching your pupils?

The activities and experiences were aimed at motivating students towards learning science by using the Problem Solving method, i.e. analysing the problem, coming up with possible solutions, building, testing and evaluating the solution. This process was repeated until a viable solution to the problem was found. This was clearly seen in the Heat Shield Challenge where teams tried to build heat shields that protects spacecrafts as they reentered the earth’s atmosphere. Using just a tin foil, a screw and nut, copper netting, a piece of wood and glue (and a Bunsen burner), students can be brought to think through creatively how to make the longest lasting heat shield. And the fun part is students like to compete with each other to see who can produce the best heat shield in two tries. We too had great fun trying to outdo the other teachers in our quest to develop the best heat shields. For Science teachers, this method will engage our students to develop their problem solving skills.

Another highlight of the activities is that they made the process of learning enjoyable and meaningful. Through practical projects such as rocket building, experiencing weightlessness through mechanical means and many other simulations, brought Science to real life. We build two different rockets. The water bottle rocket was build as a team of four while the model engine rocket was individually constructed. I have never seen a 2-litre fizzy drink bottle go that high or that fast before! The model rocket that I build had a perfect launch and its parachute opened up beautifully with a soft landing away from the trees. Imagine if we teachers had such fun, what more our students when they try out these fantastic activities. As an English teacher, this activity would involve giving oral and written instructions. Students will write a report about their experience or the experiment. What a motivating way to write an essay!

I hope I can motivate my students to literally and metaphorically 'reach for the stars'. What I have learned from another country’s space programme, we in Malaysia could replicate, adapt and innovate to suit our local context and resources. Malaysia has sent an astronaut to space and we may likely send another person to space in the near future. I hope that next astronaut is a teacher! Besides, we want to encourage our students to be interested in space science, particularly in fields such as rocketry, satellite and communication technology, astronomy, space medicine, space engineering and space research. Through my participation in this Educators Space Camp, I hope to be able to work with like-minded organisation like The Ministry of Education, The Malaysian Space Agency, the Astronautical Society of Malaysia, the Science Centre or the Planetariums to develop and organise programmes such as the Space Camps for our students and teachers.

Many of the science experiments that we learned at the Space Camp can be easily reproduced in the classroom as they are made from everyday, inexpensive materials and are safe for students.

As an English teacher, one common theme in our English syllabus is science and technology. With lots of space science and space discoveries materials available on the Internet and the media, many wonderful English lessons can be developed from there.

We learnt about how astronauts eat in outer-space.

A air spray painting done by a resident artist at the Space & Science Museum

My team members trying to simulate weightlessness in the International Space Station module.

Our indivually built model rockets being prepared for an electronic launch conducted from a safe distance.

Standing with the author of 'Space Cowboys' and ex-NASA Director, Ed Buckbee  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Opinion: KSSR - the ideal & the reality in Chinese Medium Primary School

KSSR – the ideal and the reality

Opinion 2010-12-16 14:12


Translated by Adeline Lee

Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom issued an order on 14 October 2010 that, the Education Ministry would formally launch the KSSR (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah) for all primary one students in 2011.

This means that from 2011, primary one students’ school syllabuses and class attendance will differ from their elder brothers and sisters. Their class time of 1,380 minutes will also be 120 minutes less than the 1,500 minutes class time of their elder siblings. The school bus industry has earlier indicated that it would not send the primary one students who will be dismissed from school earlier than other students, home early. So schools have begun to look for strategies to "fill" the extra 120 minutes. School must balance the arrangement of these four periods of class, as it should not increase the student's academic pressure. It is best if it could meet the needs of KSSR interactive and fun teaching objectives.

Under the new program, the number of Malay periods in Chinese primary schools has increased to 10. This was set with the aim of consolidating the national language policy. Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has guaranteed that only bilingual teachers who know both the Chinese and Malay languages will be sent to teach Malay to primary one students in Chinese primary schools. And that the order will be issued before the semester begins. It is hoped that all Chinese primary schools will have sufficient number of bilingual teachers, so that the students can commence classes successfully.

Furthermore with the cancellation of the policy to teach Mathematics and Science in the English language, the number of Mathematics periods have reduced from the original 10 (six periods teaching in Chinese language, four periods teaching in English) to six. All teaching will be done in Chinese. English periods will be raised from the original two to five; this is in line with the will of the Chinese community.

However, Malaysia still seriously lacks English teachers. The main reason for the increase in English periods is to strengthen the grasp of the English language, and to improve the standard of English in the new generation. To achieve this goal, the standard of English teachers must also be improved. It is time for the Education Ministry to plan for the training of more teachers, to address the problem of shortage of English teachers.

From my friends who are teaching staff, I realised that their feelings on KSSR are that a lot of paperwork is involved, directly increasing the burden on teachers. Teachers often find themselves short of time to teach and to do paperwork at the same time; and the calls to the Ministry to reduce the workload of teachers have never ceased. Under the KSSR program, teachers need more time to interact with students, yet the paperwork has increased rather than decreased. People find it hard to understand the rationale indeed.

Teachers also face the problem of how to do internal assessment. Many teachers feel lost on the evaluation criteria even after the briefing, and are also not clear on how to complete the evaluation forms. It is understood that there are specific instructions for each skill for the languages, but there is none for Science. The learning benchmark for KSSR is 100% and teachers must ensure that every student meet the standard. This has also given teachers a lot of pressure.

When teachers asked questions about assessment at the briefing, they were given the answer "go back to discuss with the school, the decision on how to assess is by the school".

The KSSR is a new program that people look forward to, as it aspires to give students a fun learning environment and get rid of the practice of cramming to learn, through the injection of creativity and innovative thinking in the curriculum. But the response from the teachers seems to convey that there are gaps between the ideal and the reality, and that the goal of educational transformation is not easily reached.

Sin Chew Daily

MySinchew 2010.12.16

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Help Needed: Respondent to a Masters Student's Questionaire

Dear All,

If you are a secondary school teacher in Malaysia, please help Ming See (doing her Masters in Education) to answer her online survey. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

Details and link to the survey are below this message.

Thank you.

Rodney Tan

I am currently doing my Master of Education with University Malaya. As my dissertation, I am conducting a study on How Secondary Teachers in Malaysia develop their Teaching Ability.

I also hope to link this with the importance of Teacher Mentoring. Hence, I would like to request from your good-self some contacts (either phone or email) of secondary school teachers. I will explain to them the purpose and their participation is voluntary. I hope to do this during the Dec hols where teachers are less busy.

I enclosed a sample of my questionnaire by clicking    so that you can have a look at the questions. Thank you very much.


Ming See

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Report: Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp 1

Dear People,

As I have promised, here is the first of my 4 part reflection and report on my experience at the Honeywell NASA Educators@Space Camp which I attended for most of my mid-year two week school holiday.

The complete written interview had been submitted to the New Straits Times 'Learning Curve' for publication on Sunday 19 December 2010.


Rodney Tan
My experience at the Honeywell NASA Educators@Space Camp

I am a teacher teaching in SMK Methodist ACS Melaka. Recently, I received an opportunity most other Malaysian primary and secondary school teachers could only dream of.

In June 2010, I spent five full days from the 13th-17th attending the Honeywell NASA Space Camp for Educators at the United States NASA Marshall Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, USA. My round-trip airfare, accommodation and camp fees were fully funded by Honeywell Hometown Solutions of USA, a diversified technology and manufacturing company. About 220 teachers from 21 countries such as Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and 47 US states took part in the 2010 Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp. I was really privileged and felt honoured to be the first and only Malaysian teacher to represent my country and the Malaysian teachers at this camp.

We were immersed in space science education from 7.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The packed days included lots of experiments and hands-on activities to use with our students in the classroom. They were not kidding when the Space Camp organizers said “they send us home tired!” The 45 hours of professional development included classroom activities, workshops, talks, laboratory and field training exercises. Each teacher also experienced real-life astronaut training, including a high-performance jet simulation, scenario-based space missions, and land and water survival training. Part of the programme included having inspiring guest speakers such as the rocket developer Homer Hickam Jr., retired US Space Programme Director Ed Buckbee, and astronaut cum Space Shuttle pilot Robert ‘Hoot’ Gibson.

A few memorable Space Camp souvenirs were given to all participants as well. The best of all was a unique deep blue space flight suit with all the logos of NASA, Honeywell, Educator’s Space Camp, Marshall US Space & Rocket Centre, the Space Shuttle, the flag of USA and our own individualized space wings with our name printed were all impressively emblazoned onto the suit. A striking red and black Space Camp backpack, a red Space Camp water bottle, a space shuttle rubber model, pen, t-shirt, and even a book entitled, ‘The Real Space Cowboys’ with a DVD that contained rare movie clips and interviews about the whole history of the US Space programme from the beginning to the Space Shuttle were included. The book contained humorous and dramatic behind-the-scenes accounts of astronauts and the great space race with the Russians. Among the interesting facts I’ve gleamed from the book was Dr. Wernher von Braun’s role in the US Space programme and that he was known as the main innovator of the US Rocket system and one of the founders of Space Camp. Huntsville is the main centre for the US rocket development and the last chapter is about the development of Space Camp. A movie too had also been made about Space Camp.

The Space And Science Centre
The US Space and Science Centre in Huntsville has the best exhibits of the US Space and Rocket building programme. Its impressive exhibits include an actual working Apollo Saturn V rocket and a full stack Space Shuttle which includes the Orbiter, external tanks and two solid rocket boosters formerly used for training the astronauts. Besides, there were also two complete sets of simulators used for space mission simulations which included a Command Centre, a Space Shuttle cockpit and an International Space Station Module each. The famous sleek SR-71 BLACKBIRD spy plane was also exhibited outside the museum. We were given the opportunity to visit the whole centre many times during the entire course of the camp. A normal adult entry would be US$20 which excludes the special exhibits and 3D IMax theatre.

There were many hands-on exhibit which visitors could try and experience. Among them were the Apollo Cockpit Trainer to get a true feel of the cramp quarters shared by the astronauts for 2 weeks in the APOLLO days and a ride called the Mars Mission which is a virtual journey ride across a Martian terrain. To experience up to 4Gs, we rode on the SPACE SHOT which is similar to the one we had at the Genting Theme Park and the G-Force Accelerator where we experienced three times the force of gravity as we spin like in actual astronaut training. The spinning G-Force Accelerator was not a pleasant experience. The Mars Climbing Wall is where we climb a cliff face on a simulated Martian volcano. There’s also a 3-D Digital Theater and an IMAX theatre. We watched in amazement at the meticulous repairs done to the Hubble Telescope and the weird space images taken by the Hubble through the IMAX theatre.

The whole NASA US Space and Rocket Centre was like a big space and military aircraft museum, science centre, theme park and summer camp all rolled into one, and it is opened to the public as well. One could spend the whole day there.

Besides participating and experiencing the camp and the facilities at the US Space and Rocket Centre, one of the greatest benefits of the experience was to network and exchange views and ideas with educators from across the globe.

The accommodation at the University of Alabama was very comfortable and spacious. It is only a 15-minute bus ride to or from here to the Space and Rocket Centre. We stayed in a suite for four persons and each of us have our own room, and only shared the bathroom and toilet with another teacher. The suite is equipped with a big refrigerator, microwave oven, a kitchen and a living room even.

Food was plentiful and we could eat our fill. Typical food at the camp included huge burgers, large portions of steak, sausages, ham, baked/mash potatos, baked beans, Oreos biscuits, Sara Lee’s Iced Chocolate, cakes, fruits, pasta, butter and bread. We even had snacks like Lay’s Frito Chips. The choice of the food was also to cater for the children’s and the teens’ taste as they are having their own space camps at the same time.

Dinner and Dance
On the final night, all the teachers had great fun eating and drinking, and even dancing the night away. We were entertained by a live band called the Alley Cats. One song that I particularly liked very much was a country song entitled “Sweet Home Alabama”; an appropriate song as the Space and Science Centre was situated in the state of Alabama.

At the end of the camp when we graduated, we were given our “wings” in the form of an individualized name tag to be proudly velcroed onto our blue flight suit and a fitting certificate plus large frameable photographs of the whole camp, our team and foreign teachers.

Post Camp Tour
I managed to stay on for another two days to catch the sights and sounds of the historic side of Huntsville as it had many beautifully preserved antebellum houses that were pre-Civil War, a disused railway station turned into a museum, Independence village and even the local cemetery. I even tried the famous Alabama Barbeque at the highly recommended Greenbrier Restaurant. The food was delicious and different but the portions are large and could easily be eaten by two persons.

The 1st Batch of about 112 teachers. I'm standing on the third row towards the right end.

The NASA Education Resource Centre based in Huntsville, Alabama

Standing by a beautiful painting of the International Space Station

My team of 4 water bottle rocket builders standing by our rocket just before launch.
It's really a diverse group with an African American, a Mexican, a Malaysian & a Caucasian.

Another team's water rocket. The design reminded me of Buck Rogers' rockets

Professional Development Opportunity: Honeywell NASA Educators@SpaceCamp 2011 in USA

Dear All,

This is a chance not to be missed because I was successful and have gone for a completely FREE fantastic professional development opportunity that most teachers could only dream of.

Although I am an English teacher, I have taught English for Science and Technology and was successful in coaching my students to win second placing in a regional paper plane contest. Those activities probably helped me to clinch a place for the scholarship.

You just have to fill up an online form and answer 3 short questions on your teaching and plans after attending the Space Camp. You must be able to convince the selectors of your passion, achievements and plans in relation to space science.

Details are below. All the best for those who are trying this year.

Don't forget that the closing date 31 December 2010 is drawing close!

Rodney Tan
Honeywell Educators at Space Academy - APPLY NOW!

Team Kibo - my team of 18 teachers from the US, Malaysia, Mexico & Morocco.

Standing in front of a full stack Space Shuttle that was actually used for training.

The Educator Resource Centre for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama

Standing in front of an exact replica of the Saturn V rocket that successfully took men to the moon.

My water rocket team consisting of an African American, a descendant of the founders of the Mormons, a Baba Chinese and a Mexican senorita.

Holding an actual spacesuit used in the Apollo Mission to the moon-cost US$3 million each at that time.

The Honeywell Hometown Solutions Scholarship is now taking applications for the 2011 Honeywell Educators at Space Academy. The application deadline is December 31, 2010. To find out more about the program, to the following site:  or  or

The scholarships include: * Tuition for the 5-day Space Academy program at U.S. Space Camp in Alabama * Round-trip airfare * Meals and double occupancy accommodations * Workbooks and program materials for participating teachers

Honeywell Educators at Space Academy is an incredible professional development experience! This 5-day program is sponsored by Honeywell and is for middle school math and science teachers from around the world to come and participate in 45 hours of intensive classroom, laboratory and training time, focusing on space science and space exploration. Teachers also take part in astronaut-style training and simulations, as well as activities designed to promote life-long learning in a classroom setting. All lessons and activities link to National Science and Math Standards and are ready to use in the classroom.

You will participate in two simulated Space Shuttle Missions. You can be the Pilot, Commander, Flight Director, or Mission Specialist, or a variety of other positions. Your team will work together to achieve the objectives of the mission, whether it is completing a satellite repair, or construction on the ISS. You may be responsible for solving a problem through experimentation or creating a solution with your teammates. The mission experience is realistic, exciting and challenging! Not only is the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy an exciting professional development experience, it will also challenge you personally.

Each team of 16 teachers is lead by a counselor who has attended our program and is a classroom teacher. Lodging will be at the University of Alabama in Huntsville located near the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poem: But A Child

Dear All,

Discipline of a child is an important factor in any learning. Without discipline a child may learn facts but not values.

The key to discipline is making the child realise the consequences of each action.

Below is a poem which I like about discipling a child.

Rodney Tan
But A Child

I am but a child

whether big or small.

I don't always obey the rules

or even know them all.

But please be patient with me.

I'm really truly trying.

It's just sometimes my energy

makes my feet and mouth go flying!

I am growing up so fast

and going through such changes.

It seems as if 'most every day

my whole world rearranges.

I need your help to be my best,

We're family you know.

So if I'm getting out of line

please kindly tell me "no."

-- Susan L. Gordon

Humour: Contradictory Proverbs

Contradictory proverbs

Every Action has an equal and an opposite reaction.

Similarly, every proverb has an equal and an opposite proverb! There always exists two sides of the same coin.

All good things come to those who wait.


Time and tide wait for no man.

The pen is mightier than the sword.


Actions speak louder than words.

Wise men think alike.


Fools seldom differ.

The best things in life are free things..


There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Slow and steady wins the race.


Time waits for no man.

Look before you leap.


Strike while the iron is hot.

Do it well, or not at all.


Half a loaf is better than none.

Birds of a feather flock together.


Opposites attract.

Don't cross your bridges before you come to them.


Forewarned is forearmed.

Doubt is the beginning of wisdom.


Faith will move mountains.

Great starts make great finishes.


It ain't over 'till it's over.

Practice makes perfect.


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Silence is golden.


The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

You're never too old to learn.


You can't teach an old dog new tricks

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.


One man's food is another man's poison.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.


Out of sight, out of mind.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.


Many hands make light work.

Hold fast to the words of your ancestors.


Wise men make proverbs and fools repeat them.