Dr. Susan Currie marveled at the perfect conditions on Challenger Field. It was a beautiful, sunny day in late September with no wind, a great day for a special project. As the Education Specialist from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center explained how to assemble and launch small rockets to a group of UTC education majors, senior Rebecca Gifford was thinking about all the ways a child could learn from this project.
Gifford said young students will learn to follow directions and cooperate. They’ll also be able to see the final product. As a future teacher, Gifford sees that rocketry touches history, science, math and more.
“This teaches us how to teach across the curriculum,” Gifford said. “Teachers need to introduce more activities with kinesthetic qualities—visual, auditory—to reach every kind of learner.”
Dr. Deborah McAllister, UC Foundation Professor and Faculty Senate President, arranged for the education students to engage in the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center workshop. In addition to the rocketry exercise, the pre-service education majors had classroom time to explore ideas for integration of NASA Education resources and activities into lesson planning and curriculum.
“Participants engaged in standards-based, STEM activities that can be easily transported to the classroom, and modified for several grade levels,” McAllister said.
Dr. Susan Currie had a special connection to the campus event—she graduated from UTC with a degree in education in 1977.