Friday, January 05, 2007

4th Graders Chat with NASA--"Our Solar System"

On January 4, just the second day back from Winter Holidays, all USN 4th graders gathered in the Hassenfeld Library classroom to participate in an "Our Solar System" interactive videoconference with an expert at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This Center produces a robust series of offerings via IVC every year, and their offerings are completely free of fees. We reserved our spot in this interaction 'way back in October.

4th grade Teacher Lynn Noel and I connected with NASA's David Massa well before the scheduled interaction to make sure the technical requirements were met, and we left the unit on to maintain the connection. When the fourth graders arrived, the connection had been dropped and there ensued a flurry of redialing, rebooting, and re-emailing before the connection was re-established.

NASA's Roger Storm proceeded to chat about the relative distances of the planets from the sun, using a great metaphor of "blocks away from school." In this analogy, the earth is 1 block from school, with the other two "Inner Planets" in between. Pluto resides 40 blocks away!

Questions and answers were wonderful, and girls and boys alike asked questions which were carefully and cleverly answered. View a 9 minute .wmv video to get a real sense of how the interaction went!


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