Each year since 1992, Boeing has sponsored the “Educators to Space Camp” program, helping more than 600 teachers motivate students in science and math.

Today marks the beginning of this year’s camp, and two of St. Mary’s own educators traveled down to Huntsville, Ala., to be a part of the activities.

Gray working with her students.

Armando J. Hernandez, of Great Mills High School, and Lindsay A. Gray, who recently moved from George Washington Carver Elementary School to teach fifth-grade students of the STEM Academy at Lexington Park Elementary, will be active members in this year’s Boeing Educators to Space Camp program.

Boeing works with US and international educational institutions that selected applicants for the program based on a large criterion. Some of the qualifications for applicants are to teach a fourth through eighth grade public class with emphasis on science and math, show genuine concern for students, leadership and an interest in science, technology, space or math. They must also show innovative skills by incorporating new teaching methods such as hands-on experimentation.

Claudia Wortman, St. Mary’s County School’s Supervisor of Instruction in Science, notified Hernandez and Gray of the program because of their interest in astronomy and space.

While in Huntsville, Hernandez and Gray will participate in space-exploration initiatives designed to enhance teachers’ skills in presenting math, science and technology lessons that will inspire students and help ensure a skilled work force for a globally competitive technology market.

Some of the activities the campers participate in include Martian Math, NASA’s Engineering Design Challenges, Space Gardening and Rocket construction.

According to Lynn Farrow at the Boeing Company, “after graduating from SPACE CAMP on July 12, each teacher will return home with a workbook to create lesson plans and additional program materials to use in the classroom.”

“I think the program will improve my ability to engage students in hands-on activities,” said Gray. “It will give me tools to motivate my students.”

Hernandez student teaching at George Carver

Elementary School.

Graduates also gain access to an educator training facility and a Web site offering science experiments and other curriculum information as well as resources to network and communicate with fellow campers.

“Really I’m just hoping to spark an interest (in the students) in science so that way they can come to gain a new appreciation for it,” said Hernandez, who worked with about 135 students last year.

This year, more than 90 teachers from 12 countries will be participating in the camp. Farrow estimates the program has reached 30,000 students since its introduction in 1992.