Dive Into Space program provides robotics, scuba diving, skill development

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Dive Into Space program provides robotics, scuba diving, skill development

A new, week-long Fresno State and NASA program, Dive Into Space, for 30 Clovis Unified School District high school students comes to an end with an underwater competition that can be viewed by the public at Alta Sierra Intermediate School (380 W. Teague Ave.) in Clovis from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 30.

The free, public event wraps up a unique six-day science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experience that began July 25 for students aged 14 to 17 and includes the “four C’s” of 21st century skills that employers identified as crucial to success in today’s workplace: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

Using the nearby Buchanan High School pool as a neutral buoyancy lab, students wear scuba gear to perform tasks underwater that simulate working in space. The event will be telecast to the nearby Alta Sierra multi-purpose room for real-time public viewing.

The event is part of Fresno State’s Aerospace Academy in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development in partnership with Clovis Unified as well as certified scuba diving instructors and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department Dive Rescue Team. It’s designed to offer students an immersive experience that combines diving, leadership training and robotics.

Other co-sponsors include the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Clovis Veteran’s Memorial District and Celebratory Leadership.

Dr. Steve Price, Fresno State teaching fellows director, and Russ Billings, 2004 NASA astronaut candidate and former physics teacher, are spearheading the workshops this week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

They delve into three areas of learning, starting with scuba diving.

“Just as NASA astronaut candidates train in zero gravity water tanks that simulate working in space, student teams will receive scuba training and dive in three-person crews in a pool to simulate tasks performed in space,” Price said.

When not in the water, the student crews design, engineer, build and test robots to meet underwater challenges.

The students also engage in Celebratory Leadership, which teaches how to recognize and celebrate the people and things that are going right while building resilience, leadership and community at the same time, Price said. Karl Klimek, author of “Generative Leadership” and “12 Brain/Mind Principles in Learning,” facilitates the leadership training component.

At Saturday’s event, student space crews will compete in completing underwater tasks with each team’s performance judged by Fresno County Sheriff’s Department rescue divers.

A remote video broadcast for parents and friends will be available in the Alta Sierra Intermediate School multipurpose room. An awards ceremony and media availability featuring the student “space divers” will follow.

For more information, contact Price at 559.270.6896 or josephp@csufresno.edu.

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