Published on March 8, 2013 by Michele Haralson  

Over 100 fourth grade students and teachers visited Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies on Friday, March 8 to participate in the 2013 'Space Day.' The event was hosted by Samford’s teacher education students who planned various learning activities throughout the day, including a 3-D hologram demonstration on the solar system. The morning’s activities culminated with the launching of plastic bottle rockets on the quad. This event begins a week-long study of the solar system for the students at Trace Crossings Elementary.

The eventful day was planned by teacher education students led by a leadership team of their peers. The students planned all of the learning activities for the fourth graders basing the lessons on Alabama course of study standards for fourth grade science. The students planned the rotation schedules, contacted speakers and administrators, communicated and delegated responsibilities to peers, learned to launch rockets, and received training in using web 2.0 tools from Trace Crossings assistant principal, Amanda Stone. Stone meets regularly with the leadership team to mentor and coach them in a real world setting.

As an extension of today's 'Space Day,' the leadership team, along with several of their peers, are working with teachers from Trace Crossings to design and implement activities to supplement instruction about space and the solar system for students who will not attend Space Camp next week. Those attending Space Camp have been well-prepared for the trip with instruction in their classroom and through 'Space Day' lessons.

The leadership team of teacher education students have chosen to manage events such as 'Space Day' and a Dr. Seuss celebration happening earlier in the semester. The students will be instrumental in the  upcoming Young Author's Conference held on campus for Trace Crossings' third graders. The students include: Amy Gelpi, Mandy-Jane Stanley, Katherine Forrest and Hannah Barron. 

"We could not be more proud of the work and dedication of all of our students as they all stepped up to serve the students and teachers of Trace Crossings Elementary School," said Karen Birkenfeld, assistant professor of teacher education. 

Teacher education candidates spend significant amounts of time in Trace Crossings classrooms teaching lessons and assisting children as part of a K-12 school-university partnership with their teacher education preparation. The partnership allows students to learn by becoming a part of the elementary school culture.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.