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CCMS One of Two Schools Chosen to Participate in Student Spaceflight Experiment Program

By Christie Slocum

Science teachers Ann Henson, Kambrell Garvin, Saundra Eugene

Sixth grade students at Colleton County Middle School have been given an incredible opportunity this year. Patti Drawdy, STEM coach for CCMS, brought this program to the science teachers of the middle school and the sixth grade teachers jumped on the opportunity to bring this program to their students. CCMS is the first public school in the state to be selected for participation in the Student Space Flight Experiments Program. The Palmetto Scholars Academy is the other South Carolina school to participate in this mission. The Palmetto Scholars Academy is a charter school for the gifted and talented and is located in North Charleston. The program came with a price tag of $21,500. “This is no small feat for some heavy lifting had to be done by members of our school community and by others who truly believed in the impact that this project could have on the lives of students here in Colleton County,”said Kambrell Garvin, a science teacher at CCMS whose students are designing experiments for the SSEP. Drawdy credits the community with really coming together to support this program and many local businesses have helped to fund the project.

The project officially kicked off in March with an assembly where students were introduced to their projects and their research questions. Since introducing the students to the project they have been split into teams and have had to come up with potential projects and think about how the projects would be carried out. “Since we have started the program, I have had students whom I could not reach become so engaged. This is a very positive experience for me as a teacher to be able to watch potentially at-risk students become so involved in their projects and in science,” said Ann Henson. Henson is one of the four science teachers involved in the program. The teachers are very optimistic and excited about the research the sixth graders are doing on their own and feel this is a very good way for the students to start to learn how to “think outside of the box”. The teams will have to submit their proposals by the last week of April. A local panel of expert judges will select three finalists. The three finalists will then be judged on July 4, 2014, by national experts at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. One team from Colleton County Middle School will be chosen for their experiment to be part of Space Mission 6 and will be sent to the International Space Station in the fall of 2014. The Colleton County Middle School still needs donations to help send the finalists to Washington, D.C. this summer as well as donations to help send the winners to the launch pad when their project will be sent to the International Space Station in the fall. “While one experiment will be chosen for the space flight, our community is the true winner in this amazing program as we celebrate student ownership in STEM exploration and the joys of learning. After all, how many middle schools have their own real Space program” said Drawdy. For more information on how you can help fund the students trips to see their projects become out of this world, please contact STEM coach Patti Drawdy at 843-782-0040 ext 22041 or by email at [email protected]

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