“I want to do that!” Inyokern second grader Braiden Zurn-Marsh exclaims as he skips along beside me on the way to return Miss Gaby’s computer after the video conference.
“Go to Mars?” I ask for clarification, because with kids, the possibilities are endless.
“Yes!” he jumps up in the air as he affirms. “I want to go to Mars!”
The NASA video conference with David Alexander, from NASA Armstrong was scheduled while Afterschool sites are finishing up a unit on astronomy, with a specific concentration on Mars. Students studied the surface, terrain, atmosphere, gravity, and weather on the red planet. They also looked at survival in extreme conditions on earth, and at the things humans need to survive. Putting all of this together, students designed an item to be used by humans traveling to Mars.
Pierce students prioritize items which will help them survive on Mars at their video conference on January 25, 2017.
Braiden was not the only student who was excited about Mars. I was impressed at the number of students who were engaged during the video conference presentation, during which the participants can communicate back and forth. This is not the first time we’ve worked with the NASA Digital Learning Network. Last year, fifth graders at Faller Elementary enjoyed a presentation on the Forces of Flight. This time, however, there was really something extra to the enthusiasm. This time, students were inspired and motivated, passionate about possibilities for their futures. This is why we do what we do in afterschool: for those possibilities and for those futures.
NASA Video Conference with Faller afterschool 4th & 5th graders.
NOTE: A special thanks to David McGowan of Sierra Sands Unified School District Technology Department for helping us with our equipment and with connections