Space Day at Auburn Middle School

Students filing into gym for the assembly
Space Day is about to begin!

The energy in the gym was palpable.  Auburn Middle School students were so excited to meet and hear Maine’s own astronaut, Chris Cassidy!  Space Day was off to a grand start.  The anticipation had been building over the past few weeks.  Students had gone online and identified 5 mini sessions  they would like to attend from 19 possibilities. Each student would be able to go to 3 of their picks.




Chris Cassidy, graduate of York High School. the US Naval Academy and MIT, spent 6 months aboard the International Space Station.
Chris Cassidy, graduate of York High School. the US Naval Academy and MIT, spent 6 months aboard the International Space Station.

The choices of mini-sessions included:

  • EarthKAM presented by students from Brunswick Junior High School
  • What’s Out There? Exploring the outer solar system
  • Mars as described by Ron Dyer from the Mars Desert Research Station
  • Living and Working in Space–No Shower, No Shoes, No Problem
  • Engineering–Your Ticket to Space and Beyond allowed students to simulate the work of an engineer
  • Robots Are Everywhere–even here in Maine!
  • Come Fly Away with paper airplanes to explore the forces that make flight possible
  • If You Build It demonstrates what civil engineering is all about
Principal Jim Hand
Why did the sun come to Auburn Middle School? To get brighter, of course!

The assembly opened with Principal Jim Hand welcoming students and guests. Representatives from Senators Susan Collins & Angus King, Representative Mike Michaud, and the Maine Department of Education followed with greetings and wishes for an extraordinary day.

Of course, Astronaut Chris Cassidy was the main attraction of the whole school assembly.  A former Navy Seal who served in Afghanistan and the Mediterranean, Chris was selected by NASA in 2004 for astronaut training.  While on the International Space Station, he completed 6 spacewalks.

From the video depicting life on the Space Station
From the video depicting life on the Space Station

During his talk he shared with students a video which vividly showed what life is like in space.  Afterwards he invited students to ask questions.  Hands shot up immediately.  One perceptive question related to how the astronauts handled altercations in space.  Chris replied that the training and work required collaboration at the highest level and that personal disagreements really were not an issue.

After the assembly students and teachers went off to their various mini-sessions.



SpaceDayMarshmallowengineering SpaceDayMarshmallow2



At the Engineering–Your Ticket to Space and Beyond session presented by Shelia Pendse from the University of Maine’s School of Engineering, students learned about creating prototypes and testing them by trying to build the tallest free-standing marshmallow tower.

SpaceDay Civil Air Patrol



Students watch the flight of a paper airplane as Art  Philbrick from the Civil Air Patrol explains how a fold here and a tuck there will make it fly straighter and longer.




SpaceDay-building in spaceLauren Swett from Woodard & Curran helped students understand what it must be like to construct an object in space as they wrestled balloons into large three dimensional structures.

Students presenting to other students is always a powerful experience.  Here students from Brunswick SpaceDay-Bunswick kidsJunior High school explain the EarthKam program and their participation in it.







Sailors from the USS Zumwalt  came up from Bath Iron Works to lead students in hands-on activities:   launching your own rocket, making UV bracelets, and examining space rocks.

SpaceDay Navy

Sharon Eggleston is the Northeast Regional Coordinator  for Space Day.  She shared that 7000 students across Maine participated in some sort of Space Day activity this year.  If you are interested in learning more about Space Day and how your school might participate you can contact her at

SpaceDayCarl2At the end of the day, Carl Bucciantini, Auburn Middle School coordinator for Space Day rolls his cart of supplies back to his office knowing the staff and students alike enjoyed a day of learning and exploration!








Hospitality Team & Guides for honored guests
Hospitality Team & Guides for honored guests
Space Goodies--Who knew you could have an ice cream sandwich in space?
Space Goodies–Who knew you could have an ice cream sandwich in space?
Sue Myers, Space Camp graduate and AMS science teacher.
Sue Myers, Space Camp graduate and AMS science teacher.

CyberDay at Auburn Middle School

Student works on iPad keyboard
iPad Keyboard

High school students, central office administrators, community members, and teachers led workshops for Auburn Middle School students on CyberDay. Each student was able to choose 3 workshops to attend.

Like many middle schools in Maine, students and staff switched from laptops to iPads this year.  CyberDay was a time to share what had been learned and explore new possibilities.

Some students opted to learn how to make commercials in a session entitled “Welcome to Hollywood” led by Jake Bazinet, a high school junior.  The best student commercials were showcased on the Lewiston-Auburn local access channel.



Everyone got involved!

Music and movie making sessions were popular:

Makiing Movies
Making Movies
Making Music
Making Music


Sharing and collaboration characterized the event.

Collaboration CyberDay


Classmates collaborate and share ideas and products.
Classmates collaborate and share ideas and products.

The Day was featured in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

At the end of the day, it was obvious that CyberDay was a grand success!

BigShare CyberDay

Share with MAMLE members what’s happening in your school.  Write a comment below and we’ll be in touch!

Auburn MS Hosts iPad User Group

Carl Bucciantini from Auburn Middle School reports via the ACTEM ListServ...

On Thursday February 6 from 3:00 – 4:45 PM, please join us at Auburn
Middle School for the initial Auburn Area Middle School iPad Users
Group. This meeting is intended to be an informative, purposeful, and fun
gathering for middle school teachers who are using iPads in their

This will not be formal professional development, but rather a gathering
of practitioners to share ideas and knowledge around how to make the most
of iPad in the middle school setting. It will be a gathering that will be
of value to all levels of iPad users – from the beginner to the advanced.
To make this happen:

• this event will be led by Auburn Middle School teachers who are using
iPads in their classrooms.

• this event will provide time for teacher-to-teacher sharing of ideas
and resources.

Via the Apple Primary MLTI solution and other implementations, iPads are
being used effectively in middle school classrooms across Maine. This
event will be a time for middle school teachers from Auburn and
surrounding communities to share knowledge & experience, successes &
challenges – all with an eye towards making everyone, including your
students, more effective and innovative iPad users.

Topics addressed during this gathering of the Auburn Area Middle School
iPad Users Group (Auburn MSIUG) will include:

  • Managing the iPad classroom
  • Flipping the classroom
  • APPetizers
  • Managing the workflow

Participants are encouraged to bring their questions and stories of

Please be sure to bring along your iPad and Apple ID information so you’ll
be able to download some of the apps you’ll hear about – wireless access
will be available.

Sixty (60) places are available for this Auburn Area Middle School iPad
Users Group, and registration will close when that number is reached.

Registration is available through the link below:

Please be in touch with any questions – Jim Moulton –