Niagara Gazette — "It's something we can definitely use in the classroom," she said. "We had to design a material capable of withstanding a blow torch an inch away for three minutes. Meanwhile an egg on the other side couldn't be cooked. It was fun. Some of them set on fire, some of the eggs were destroyed. Our team was able to do it, so we won."
Experiments like the heat shield have a ton of potential in the 21st century classroom, she said, because of the growing interest in pushing science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM – education.
While flaming eggs and blowtorches are exciting, they're not the only things she's hoping to bring back home to Western New York. Another experience she plans on playing around with in the the classroom is a lot more practical.
In space, she said, astronauts must recycle all water because, well, there isn't any water source hundreds of miles above the earth. This includes urine, though no one tested this in her academy group. She said this might come back with her as well.
"The one in Alabama was green and had pieces of cotton balls and maybe glitter in it," she said.
In the end, O'Brien's job is to inspire her students to do more with science, the mission of Honeywell's camp experience. Through collaborating with teachers, the space academy's organizers are hopeful students will get the chance to play around with scientific theories and have a more hands-on education.
Since the program's inception in 2004, Honeywell has awarded scholarships to 1,756 teachers from every state and more than 45 countries. This year's program alone brought educators from 42 different states and 27 countries to the camp.
"Inspiring students begins with inspiring teachers," Tom Buckmaster, president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, said. "Honeywell Educators @ Space Camp gives teachers an engaging and unforgettable learning experience that heightens their ability to become even more effective educators."
For more information about the program, go online to educators.honeywell.com.Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.