Quite the thrilling day for students at a Kamloops elementary school. A Canadian astronaut paid them a live video visit.
Grade five and six students at Kay Bingham Elementary School gathered in the school’s library today, Nov. 14, for a video conference with Canadian astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons.
Sidey-Gibbons spoke to about 75 students, calling into the school from the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Grade six teacher Lisa Pye says the students listened to Sidey-Gibbons' stories about her training, which the astronaut was able to turn into life lessons.
“Jenni was brilliant, she was friendly and open,” Pye says. “The students were thrilled… She was really encouraging for students to develop resiliency and to persevere towards their goal, which is something we try to reinforce in school.”
At the end of the video 45-minute chat, students were able to ask her questions, such as if she had ever wanted to give up, and when she plans to go to space.
“Part of what they are doing for her training is putting her and the other astronauts under as much stress as possible, so they can see how people respond when they’re under pressure,” Pye says. “She didn’t think they would invite her back, she was nervous that they wouldn’t, and they did. She said it’s a lesson for all of us that even though we are not sure things are going great, it doesn’t mean we are accurate.”
Pye says the Canadian astronaut is still undergoing training and expects to be in space sometime between the next five to ten years, depending on the goals of the Canadian Space Agency. Pye says Sidey-Gibbons trains in an underwater simulator with a life-size replica of the International Space Station, which the children were quite interested in.
“There are several of them talking about how they never really thought about space that much, but now they’re really curious to learn about it," Pye says. "This has been a launch into a project we're doing on space where students will learn about all different aspects of it.”
Pye applied to have an astronaut speak to her class last year, and to her knowledge, this is the first time it has happened at the Kamloops school.
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