Last week, the sixth grade visited the Christina McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University. Working together in full-size mockups of both Houston’s Mission Control and an International Space Station interior, students applied principles of physical science to the real-time challenges of a simulated space flight.

On mission day students arrived at the McAuliffe Center with a clear understanding of their specific roles, the science behind their tasks, and the teamwork and communication skills necessary for mission success. The 2-hour mission simulation is as real as it gets.  The mission continues into the classroom even after the simulation experience has ended. Students analyze collected data, discuss emergency responses and other process decisions, and hold press conferences for schoolmates summarizing mission goals and outcomes.