Just announced plans for Space Day at Salt River Elementary – our 6th year!
- This year’s focus is on the Moon, rockery and spacesuits.
- The student competition is to design a future spacesuit
- Each class in every grade level will experience one facet of space science
- When: Oct. 26th, 2017 Time: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
As the event grows bigger each year, my thanks to those who will be supporting it:
- Orbital ATK, Arizona
- Jet Propulsion Lab, California
- Autonomous Collective Systems Lab, at ASU
- SpaceTRex, University of Arizona
- Challenger Space Center, Arizona
Space science is a fascinating field, and gives us who focus on STEM an ability to widen the lens. Consider some of the recent developments
Last evening, Orbital’s Antares rocket lifted off for the International Space Station. Today the Chinese launched their own ‘March 2F’ rocket with two astronauts headed to their own separate Space Station.
So it is fitting that tomorrow for Space Day, our 4th grade students will Skype with Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA. He will talk about engineering design, as a preface to their making and deploying a model of the Phoenix lander.
The Lander looks something like this, but will be made to scale including the parachute, and several models will be tested outside!
In 2012, when I put together Mars Day at our school, I could tell there was a huge appetite for all things space-related. After all, the Mars rover ‘Curiosity’ had landed on the red planet a few months before.
This year, our 5th year, we are broadening our lens, so to speak. We are calling it SPACE DAY. It is on Oct. 19th at Salt River Elementary.
I am so fortunate to have so many groups supporting me. From a NASA scientist, to Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Science), and several groups from the School of Earth and Space at Arizona State University. Also a team who keeps bringing back StarLab, the inflatable planetarium. But wait, there’s more – a surprise guest from the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), the NASA group prepping for Mars.
There are several break-out sessions, some that will happen concurrently. We may even have a few real rocket launches outside! This year two of my colleagues will conduct hands-on sessions that add art and design to the mix. My goal has always been to add more of the ‘A’ to the S.T.E.A.M programs.
Almost every week it’s hard to escape news of audacious new programs pertaining to vehicular designs, space colonies, cosmonauts, or discoveries about comets, asteroids, and planets –the ones we know, and those that are still to be named.
One day of the year just scratches the surface, don’t you think?
It’s funny how an ‘old’ technology comes to the rescue, even in education that’s all about Ed-Tech.
I’ve used Ustream, am experimenting with Stre.am, one of the newest shiny objects for collaboration and live-streaming. WebEx is not feasible for legal reasons, which is why Skype has come to the rescue. Skype – that grandaddy of web conferencing tools– is old in Internet years! Released in 2003, it came in a different era from our one-click chat apps that are morphing into lean, mobile must-haves. It’s still a trusty, if not crusty application.
Anyway, for this ongoing series of STEM Talks, I am pleased to be able to connect my school with an eminent NASA scientist, Dr. Ashwin Vasavada. He is the lead scientist on NASA’s Curiosity Rover mission, and comes to us via the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. For those of us with one-planet experience, know this: Ashwin participated in Galileo mission to Jupiter, and Cassini mission to Saturn.
My students have some background to Curiosity, because of robotics, and some have seen the full-scale model of this Humvee-sized robot at ASU. I’ll be curious (I know, bad pun!) to see how they engage with him.
Place: Computer & Technology Lab
Time: 4:00 pm
Light refreshments will be served.
Check out previous STEM Talks here, and here.