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  • Writer's pictureVarsha Sandadi

Day 13: Spokes Goes to Space Camp

Saturday, June 15th, 2024

Hazard, KY --> Hazard, KY

0 mi, 0 ft elevation

Simulated mission control @ challenger learning center!

My day started bright and early at 6 am. I rolled out of bed for my morning task: unpacking the van and getting our learning festival materials together. After all, today was the day of our second learning festival at the Challenger Learning Center in Hazard!

The morning was still and smoky, and some dogs barked distantly along the street. While I was exhausted, I felt at peace with routine of unpacking the van. Just me and the boxes. And several tons of miscellaneous things thrown across the van floor of course.

The rest of the team woke up and Rebecca helped me finish in time for all of us to have breakfast together. Lately I've been obsessed with a combination of PB Fit + instant coffee + soy milk + granola + banana (don't knock it 'til you try it).

We loaded up four people in the van, and the rest of the team graciously biked over to the Challenger Learning Center.

thank u amulya, hank, rebecca, and cleo for biking <3

When we entered the building and were immediately astounded: the center was a space-based learning environment with decked out exhibits for simulated missions like Lunar Quest and Expedition Mars. But there was no time for exploring just yet- as soon as we got there, we began setting up -- making the last few edits to our schedule, getting the rooms in order, prepping our supplies, etc. And before we knew it, the kids arrived! Time to begin our learning festival.

We ran Krispie Concrete (science of concrete and comparing it to making rice krispies), Physics of Sound (building speakers), 3D-printing (designing and printing bubble wands), and strawberry DNA (extracting DNA from strawberries). It was so much fun seeing the kids play around with the materials, and learn about the science behind it all. Here are a few of the pictures!

The kids were so sweet and asked great questions. It was really meaningful to be able to learn about their interests and hobbies throughout the day as well. We wrapped up the learning festival around 3 pm, and Charles, who helped us organize the festival, was kind enough to give us a tour of the Challenger Learning Center. We were like kids in a playground, immediately running towards the exhibits to mess around with the microgravity simulator, ROV video games, and much more. We even got to go through the simulated mission control, airlock, and space station!

I was reminded of how much spaces like this excited me as a kid, and how much of a part they played in why I wanted to go into STEM. It was beautiful being able to experience that pure joy and excitement again, both in the Challenger Learning Center and with the kids. Thank you to Charles and the team at the center for helping coordinate an amazing learning festival.

But the day was not over yet. We decided to seize the afternoon and hit up several Hazard essentials.

First, we immediately headed over to Hazard Coffee Co. to get our caffeine fix. I tried a blueberry pancake latte, which was very tasty!

much needed caffeine

Then we went to arguably the most famous spot in Hazard: Mother Goose Inn. Yes, it's exactly as it sounds. A goose on top of an inn. As Sophia beautifully said, "This is a reminder that free will exists".

admiring mother goose in all her glory

We didn't have our fill of Hazard festivities yet, so we decided to head to the Perry County fair. Personally, I am not a fair person, but it was fun seeing local vendors and activities all in one place. Amulya and Hank got funnel cake, we saw animals, and much more! Pictures below feature JD the goat whisperer.

As shown from the third picture of Amulya and Hank cooling off in the mist, the heat was really getting to us. So we decided to call it a day and head back to the B&B.

After we got back, Hank, Sophia, and I whipped up team dinner to the Ratatouille soundtrack. Egg salad, pasta, garden salad, chicken, and brownies with berry compote.

I am no chef by any means and being in the kitchen stresses me out more than biking 70+ miles a day. But part of doing Spokes means taking in and learning from all experiences, both on and off the bike. And today -- running the learning festival, exploring the town of Hazard, and cooking with the team -- was a lovely reminder of that.


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1 Comment

Jun 19

goat whisperer !!

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