Utah teacher returns with lessons learned at space academy for educators

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jul 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-12 23:36:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY —A Utah high school teacher spent a week training as an astronaut to inspire new ways of teaching science, technology and math.

FOX 13 News caught up with the Highland High School science teacher to find out what lessons she's bringing back to the Beehive State.

"When you can go out and take real life experiences to students and say, 'This is what really it is, not read a book, don't read a textbook, don't go to page 72 and tell me what that graph means, this is what it feels like,'” Bonnie Bourgeous said of her experience.

She is the only teacher from Utah in four years to win a scholarship for a trip to the Honeywell Educators Space Academy, and she's bringing lessons learned at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center back to Utah students.

“That was my first impression, is that I am so small, but I get to be a part of something that is so big,” Bourgeous said.

She joined teachers from 39 states and 24 countries and already has plans to Skype lessons with her class internationally.

"Bring countries together, and if we can do that in our classrooms and start building this trust internationally now, then maybe we can alleviate some of the future tensions that might be in our world,” she said.

Some lessons hit close to home, like how clean water is recycled on the International Space Station.

"Being in Utah, the second driest state in the nation, water is a huge issue,” she said.

Bourgeous’ classroom lessons next year will cross disciplines from math, to science, to communications.

"This is why we teach, is because we want to help students become the best they can,” she said. “And when you can relate experiences and actually experience and say, ‘I have done this, this is what it actually is’ …how cool is that?"

Bourgeous plans to return to space camp as a teacher mentor. She encourages other Utah teachers to apply to the program, click here for details.