Bala Vidya Mandir Bala Vidya Mandir

Senior Secondary School

(Affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi)






On a brilliant September morning, students and teachers from Bala Vidya mandir Sr.Secondary School. Adyar  gathered at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Forty five  students of classes 8 to 11 along with four Teacher Coordinators namely Ms.Karthiyaini, Ms.Saraswathi, Ms.Subamanohari and Mr.Mouni Prakash visited KSC. The sponsors for the NASA  trip were Go4 guru.The tour consisted of 7 days where 3 days were spent in exploring NASA and learning robotics while the remaining days were spent in places like the Disneyland, Miami Beach, Miami University.Wal-Mart and the outlet malls.

 The instructors of the  Robotics Challenge were Mr. Michael,Mr.Alex and  Mr.Gonzalo. They taught the  students the basics of programming for the Arduino bot. The first challenge was to make the Arduino bot move 35cm  followed by making it move through a course. Then the students were taken to watch a 3D IMAX movie “A Beautiful Planet”  narrated by Jennifer Lawrence and they also visited  the Heroes and the Legends complex .This movie  was about planet Earth from the view of the people from the ISS. The Heroes & Legends complex showcased  the lives and dreams of astronauts who explored the space.

The next day “Arduino” robot building and programming continued and also ways to make the robot complete the normal and curved course. Later they watched another IMAX movie “Journey to Space” narrated by Patrick Stewart. A bus tour around the NASA KSC base was also part of the day’s agenda. It toured around the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), Launchpad 39-A and 39-B. and ended in the Saturn V museum, where the Apollo mission’s rocket was preserved.They were shown  the real control room of the Apollo 8 launch and had an experience of the launch from the control room.

The highlight was touching the exhibit of the moon rock, brought by the astronauts from the moon, seeing the original display of the retired Atlantis shuttle used for 33 of NASA’s missions A simulation of the shuttle launch experience was really thrilling for all. At the end was the master challenge titled “Surface Mission” in which they had to navigate a model of the surface of Mars with the only input being the camera mounted on the robot. Finally certificates were distributed to all participants by the instructors who were very much impressed by the involvement shown by the students. An added motivation was getting  annual visitor pass to NASA.

 The icing on the cake was the Encounter with Astronaut Charlie Walker .It  was an awesome experience for the students as he explained about food  eaten in space and how it had to be preserved.

After the three days usefully spent at Kennedy Space Centre the entire group was taken to Disney land’s Magical Kingdom. They went on several rides and wholeheartedly enjoyed the experience. Following day was shopping at Walmart and another outlet mall.

The last day, was visit to Miami University where two college students shared  how it functions and the various disciplines it had.The last spot was  Miami beach before they were headed to the airport to catch the plane back home.To conclude, It was a novel experience mixed with a lot of fun and learning and was sure to be etched in their minds for a lifetime. "Space is so limitless and infinite and mysterious. It grabs your attention because we don't know much about it and we would like to know more."