Thursday, December 21, 2006

It IS Rocket Science

I love NASA's distance learning programs. They have a wide variety of topics with more than 40 programs offered. They have amazing lesson plans and resources. Their scientists are not only knowledgeable but great presenters. And it's free. So what's not to love? Today one of our 6th grade classes participated in the Rocket Science videoconference. Tom Benson, an aeronautical engineer, was a lively and humorous host. The students really enjoyed the program. Prior to the vc they had made their own rockets following a rocket building activity from the website . During the vc they got to answer a lot of rocketry questions and of course ask a lot of questions too. They learned what is a rocket and how is it different from an airplane. They learned about the different kinds of rocket fuel and how it thrusts the rocket into space. One thing I always observe, especially in middle school, is how few girls participate in science videoconferences. I was glad that a few girls did ask a few questions at the end. All in all it was a great videoconference. Tomorrow the shuttle Discovery comes home. May they have a safe return. And happy holidays to all my videoconferencing friends.