July 11, 2003
Space Camper Heads to Huntsville
Eighth-grade science teacher Teri Lockerman is going into space. At least that’s what her students at Tincher Preparatory School in Long Beach believed.
"They thought I was leaving on a space shuttle," said Lockerman, describing her students’ first reaction when they learned she’d been selected to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., this summer.
The 37-year-old Long Beach native will take to Space Camp a life-long fascination with the heavens. Her interest in space goes back to the time she was a young child watching Apollo launches on television.
Lockerman’s path to teaching, and ultimately Space Camp, had a few twists and turns along the way. Her first career was in fashion merchandise/marketing, where she worked for 10 years before realizing she wanted more out of life.
"I wasn’t fulfilled. I wanted to learn more," Lockerman said. "I enrolled at Long Beach City College and had a biology professor who completely changed my perspective of science. I knew right then I wanted to be a science teacher."
Following her graduation from CSULB, Lockerman has been teaching in the Long Beach Unified School District for the past five years. The emphasis in her science curriculum is on physical science.
"We examine element properties, atomic and molecular structure, and chemical composition, to name a few."
Lockerman says this is an exciting time to be a science teacher--and a great time to go to Space Camp. "There’s so much taking place with space exploration, and my students are extremely curious," she said. "Space seems so far away, yet when you bring it into the classroom, students are fascinated."
When she returns to Long Beach from Space Camp, Lockerman plans immediately to put to use what she has learned. First, she’ll share what she learned with teaching colleagues, where there’s a heavy emphasis on astronomy in third, fifth, and sixth grades. Then, she’ll build a unit for her own curriculum at Tincher Preparatory School.
Lockerman says she’s committed to making the most of her Space Camp experience. "I’m going to be a human sponge and absorb all of it," she said.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."