As part of the Sixth grade science curriculum at Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA), May 27 was set aside to celebrate the culmination of the Astronomy Unit. Through the school’s relationship with Institute of Creation Research, 117 Sixth grade students participated in a Skype interview with NASA Astronaut Col. Jeffrey Williams, who is currently training in Houston at the Johnson Space Center to prepare to go back to the International Space Station on Expeditions 47/48, currently scheduled to launch in March 2016.
The morning began with a presentation of the flags by PCA’s Sixth grade Honor Guard, followed by an introduction of special guests. PCA’s Worldview Director, Dan Panetti, introduced Col. Williams via Skype to the Sixth graders, faculty and parents in attendance. Nine students were selected to ask questions of the astronaut as well.
“I’ve accumulated about a year in space over the course of three missions, and viewing the earth from orbit always takes your breath away,” said Col. Williams. “When you see the beauty and majesty of the earth, the atmosphere, geology, civilization and all of the things that make this planet such a special place in the universe, it is spectacular.”
Dr. Henry Morris III, President of Institute of Creation Research, also was in attendance. ICR is supportive of PCA’s recently introduced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Honors program. Dr. Morris asked Col. Williams about how his faith impacts his work as an astronaut.
“When you’re a Christian, your faith impacts your work no matter what your occupation,” said Col. Williams. “Being a Christian gives you a much larger, broader perspective of the world. You have not a career, but a vocation, which literally means ‘calling,’ because you’ve been called into service.”
Following the hour-long live interview with Col. Williams, students competed against one another to see who constructed the best rocket created out of one soda bottle and duct tape. An air compressor and water propelled students’ rockets, and each of the rockets was judged on their design and longest hang time. During this fun day, students also had the opportunity to use high-powered telescopes to look at the sunspots on the sun. James Worrell, PCA parent and founder of Day Four: Society of Biblical Astronomy provided the amazing telescopes for students.
Students in Sixth grade at Prestonwood Christian Academy are involved in a broad range of sciences that make up Earth Science. They review scientific method and laboratory technique as well as the use of advanced scientific instruments. Studies of meteorology and astronomy are major parts of PCA’s science curriculum. The students study stars, planets and other astronomical objects as well as the history of space exploration, and each topic is presented from a biblical perspective.
“PCA’s Astronomy unit is vital for students to learn that their faith in Christ and discovery in science are compatible, even complementary,” said PCA Science teacher, Tricia Panetti. “The opportunity our students had today to Skype with Astronaut Williams demonstrated to them a real-life example of how his discoveries in science and space gives him a greater appreciation of God’s handiwork. Society today tells our students that science and faith are oxymoron, but today we saw proof that they do go hand-in-hand. At PCA, we desire to give our students a love and passion to study science and that faith enhances their discovery.”
Prestonwood Christian Academy has more than 1,600 students enrolled at three campuses: Plano (Pre-Kindergarten 3 through 12th grade), PCA North in Prosper (Pre-Kindergarten 3 through 5th grade) and PCAplus Virtual Academy. The school has been recognized as having one of the strongest Christian education programs in the country providing intentional biblical worldview training and integration. PCA places great value on the growth of students’ spiritual health in addition to their scholastic endeavors and co-curricular activities. In addition to PCA’s spiritual development plan, the school promotes a rigorous Liberal Arts academic program. PCA is currently accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year. Interested families are invited to take a tour of either campus. Please visit www.prestonwoodchristian.org for more information!