During the week of March 9-13, space was the final frontier for the students, staff and faculty of the Warren County School System. Students participated in a week-long study of space exploration during the first Space Week activity for the school system. Students at all three schools had the opportunity to learn about space exploration with the help of NASA.
The Aerospace Education Services Project is a comprehensive project designed to reach out to the formal and informal education communities in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The program emphasizes NASA's use of emerging instructional technologies and the motivating outcomes of NASA's research, exploration and discovery with education communities and the public. The primary focus is a professional development effort that serves the elementary and secondary education community by providing classroom demonstrations, distance learning events, in-service training for educators, pre-service training for university students, and identification of appropriate NASA education resources.
Les Gold, an educator from the Kennedy Space Center represented NASA in the school system. Training with Mr. Gold was Dr. Lester Morales, who had joined the program in January 2009.
The week began Monday, March 9, at Warren County High School. Students in technology classes were shown how computer technology is used in today's space program. A video demonstrated how a computer program designed by NASA engineers is being used in the medical field for the discovery and diagnosis of breast cancer. Students also were exposed to an overview of NASA current and upcoming missions, including a return to the moon by the year 2020. Students from the health occupations class were shown how astronauts maintained proper body temperature during space walks through the use of cool water running through rubber tubing.
The NASA educators traveled to Freeman Elementary School to visit fourth and fifth grade classes. Students viewed an overview of the space shuttle. Students also participated through a hands-on activity in ordering of the planets of the solar system. Students were then shown how they can become backyard astronomers in observing celestial events.
Warren County Middle School students also had the opportunity to participate in the Space Week happenings. Mr. Gold and Dr. Morales met with the gifted students in the morning and then other students in the afternoon.
The final day of the Space Week activities focused on presentations at the elementary school. Students from the kindergarten, second and third grades attended presentations concerning the space exploration.
One of the major benefits of the presentations by the NASA educators is the reinforcing of many scientific and mathematic principles learned by students in the classroom. Not only did the students learn about space but many of these principles covered will be items on upcoming standardized tests.
Mr. Gold commented on the importance of NASA's education program.
"The students of today are our engineers, scientists, and technicians of tomorrow," he said. "Our program is designed introduce students to NASA and motivate them to prepare for careers in technology and math."
Mr. Gold also commented on the operation of Warren County Schools. He stated he was very impressed on the schools' operation and the behavior of the students.
Carole Jean Carey, Superintendent of Schools, was impressed in the work done by the NASA educators.
"We spent a day in November meeting with Mr. Gold in the planning of the activities for this week," she said. "This was the first time we had done something like this in Warren County and wanted to ensure a meaningful time of learning for our students. Based upon comments made by our teachers and staff, we are elated at the outcome."