It always surprises us teachers when students do something outside the guidelines. It’s easy to preach the outside-the-box cliche, but what happens when they color outside the lines – defy the rubric, so to speak?
I asked one of our presenters to help judge the entries from students. The contest challenge was to ‘design a spacesuit of the future.‘ No other limitations except nothing could be bought from a store. The scientist who designs satellites for a living, had a hard time picking 3 entries. So did my Specials team.
Some students interpreted the ‘rules’ and used recycled material. One took the whole astronaut approach, with a diorama. Some focused on the breathing apparatus – after,all they do hear that the air on Mars is not exactly fit for consumption! So here’s what we got. The 1st place went to an entry made entirely of water bottles and tin foil – to the right of the spacesuit (which was the prize.)
So today is Space Day! Our 6th year, Space Day is turning out to be quite an event!
This year we have two keynote addresses from NASA scientists:
Dr. Jim Rice, Co-Investigator on the Mars Exploration Rover Project. His work has involved mission experience working on the Mars Odyssey Orbiter and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Projects, the Mars landing site selection for every NASA Mars Mission since Mars Pathfinder in 1995. he is currently involved in manned missions back to the Moon and Mars.
Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, is the Deputy Project Scientist working on the mission of the Mars Curiosity rover. He helps lead an international team of over 400 scientists. His work has involved geologic studies of Mars with regard to surface properties, volatility, and climate history.
Other sessions will be specific to grade levels:
We could not have done this without the support of:
No, not Vincent’s. This is courtesy of the heavens. Particularly the meteor shower from Orion, and debris from Halley’s comet.
I’m interested in this because, by some coincidence, around the week of my annual SPACE DAY event in school, we always seem to have a gift from above. It puts things in perspective.
For best places to watch,you could check this ‘Dark site finder.‘ Unfortunately Phoenix area, and Colombo, seem not dark enough.
Just announced plans for Space Day at Salt River Elementary – our 6th year!
As the event grows bigger each year, my thanks to those who will be supporting it:
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
I’m not talking about the coding part of the site, but the navigation, layout and content. So much has changed since I worked on web sites and web content ten years ago. Especially with site builders at Wix and Weebly, or even GoDaddy.
It’s a quick way to build navigation tabs, work on color and fonts, and eventually embed hyperlinks and video.
Here is some of the work of 6th grade, building a site for Space Day, the school event we just concluded.
Likewise the 5th grade is working on a website for Freedom Tower, a project they began in September.
Later they would be using Photoshop for image manipulation, and create and edit shapes and buttons etc. Much later, when we move into audio recordings, and podcasts, I may have them return to their web sites and add voice files using Audacity.
But for now they experiment with bevels, shadows, and other effects that enable navigation.
Design is not just for 5th and 6th Grade. To address the Arizona CCRS Standard, S1.C4.PO 1: “Use digital creativity tools to create original works” I let 2nd grade students work with shapes, colors and also contrast and perspective.
Here is one student’s poster for the same event, using Microsoft Word.
This event couldn’t have been better timed. Unbeknownst to me, October 19th was a day that space pioneer, Robert Goddard had called his “Anniversary Day” — the day he thought that it just might be possible to humans to break free of gravity and travel to other planets.
Oct 19th, last Wed, turned out to be a day filled with hands-on experiences for our students who got to hear about (and see) rockets, small-space satellites, robots that could some day work in ‘teams’ or swarms on a distant planet, how to design a landing craft and parachute like the Phoenix Mars Lander, and of course sit inside a portable, inflatable planetarium
Here are some of the highlights in pictures.
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!
Getting back after Fall break with a big event this Wednesday, SPACE DAY. It’s my 5th year of bringing space science to our students from Kindergarten to 6th grade. Fascinating how things fall into place, thanks to the amazing support I get from the scientific community around us.
I am delighted to have Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace, conduct sessions for us, with many other groups. Today was supposed to be the launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket carrying cargo up to the International Space Station. The launch has been postponed for tomorrow, and should dock at the space station on SPACE Day – Wed Oct 19th!
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Jim Rice, a NASA astrogeologist.
Sessions will cover these topics: