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The STEM Club at Allen Park Elementary took the next step in their “Year in Space” education program today for ARISS. The students learned the basics of computer coding in a before school lesson.

Allen Park is still waiting for word exactly when, but in the fall when they come back to class, a select group of students will speak to an astronaut on board the International Space Station.

The simple commands for their Sphero robots were taught to them by Tim Bennett from Cape Coral Utilities and the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club. The lesson was tied to space exploration and how the Mars Rover works.

Allen Park Elementary is the first school in Lee County chosen to participate in the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) program, and one of just fourteen for the next session.

Century Link is providing the ham radio connection needed for the students to communicate with the ISS crew as they pass overhead. FGCU is providing education support and a telescope to observe the ISS as it passes overhead.

The students at Allen Park also continue to participate in NASA’s “Train like an Astronaut - Walk to the Moon” challenge, tracking their steps until they reach the 478 million steps it would take to walk to the moon.