Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NASA Family Night

It all started when one of my school's Parent's Association wanted to have a videoconference at their monthly meeting. It sounded like a good idea but with no budget and the challenge of a videoconference at night I wasn't sure I would be able to find an interesting program. Around that same time some of our teachers were participating in a NASA Distance Learning Network Overview & Program Showcase and the presenter while discussing some of the different kinds of programs NASA does mentioned "Family Night". It turned out that the NASA Ames Research Center is located in California (a difference of three hours from our EST time zone ).

I was put in touch with Greg Pitzer, who was very helpful and accomodating in putting together a program for our parents and their children. He made it very interactive and informative. Greg even had a hands-on activity for the students and parents to do together. They made paper airplanes and flew them. He answered lots of questions from the kids and adults alike. He showed a slideshow of the shuttle mission that was launched to the Intenational Space Station just that morning. We even got to see his blue screen which allowed Greg to be on Mars or on a beach on the Pacific Ocean in one mouse click.

NASA Family Night was a great success. Our parents got to experience the kind of programs their children are participating in during their school day. Parents and students learned new things about NASA, the International Space Station and aeronautics. And most important of all families got to spend some quality time together at NASA Family Night!


Rebecca said...

That's great!! Last school year, one of my classes connected to Reef HQ in Australia. For the timing to work, it had to be an evening v/c for us, so one Thursday night the parents brought their kids back to school. We then connected to Reef HQ, where it was Friday morning. The kids participated in the v/c, learning about the reef and animals, while the parents watched. Not only did the presenters have two people in a studio, but there was a third, scuba diving and answering the students' questions. Across the globe, and under water! The parents were VERY impressed. That school now has tremendous PTO support for videoconferences.

Andrea Israeli said...

I participated in a Reef HQ videoconference at NECC in San Diego two years ago. Ever since then I have wanted to do a videoconference with the Reef HQ. Unfortunately our PTA had no budget this time. Thanks for reminding me about how wonderful a family program this would be. I hope in the future we will be able to "visit" Australia.