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John Mitsinikos
Teacher, Science, Physics and Mathematics
Strathmore Secondary College in Melbourne
Spaceward Bound Mojave 2008

Hi everyone,

I received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University Of Melbourne, Australia in the mid eighties where I concentrated my studies in the areas of physics and mathematics. As a young child I always wanted to become a teacher, so I completed a Diploma of Education and started teaching at my present school, Strathmore Secondary College in Melbourne Victoria, in 1988. The school has a year 7-12 student population of approximately 1500 students, and has a very progressive and innovative administration and staff.  In my early years I taught junior science, physics and mathematics, but the shortage of senior mathematics teachers has seen me teach purely in the mathematics areas. I have led the Mathematics department for the last 5 years trying to produce innovative and relevant curriculum for our students that incorporate the new technological advances that are available in Education. I enjoy teaching today even more than when I first started.

In the early nineties we became the first Australian school to bring students to the United States, to the Space Camp running out of Huntsville, Alabama, which very quickly became a huge success. In the late nineties the State Government of Victoria made available a substantial amount of money to address the general world wide trend of the difficulty of getting students to study science and mathematics. A number of us from the school put in a submission to build the Victorian Space Science Education Centre, a specialist science education centre using world leading technology to teach not only space science, but all branches of science. We stimulate student interest by running ‘hands on’ experiments and scenario based programs. With the help of our many University partners, NASA and ESA we have been successfully operational for the last couple of years. Lately my area of interest has been the use of Robotics in the teaching of mathematics. Initially we have been using the LEGO NXT robots in years 7 and 8 and are currently in the process of building “Mars Rovers”, which will be programmed and controlled by our Yr 9-10 students on our simulated Mars surface, through an internet website and viewed by webcam. We are hoping that this program will be operational by 2009 and available to all Australian students.

I have joined the Spaceward Bound program to further enhance my teaching, my own professional learnings which may hopefully inspire the next Australian astronaut or scientist.

 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: June 2011