Talk about creating excitement in a child’s education—imagine an elementary or middle school student who gets to examine moon rocks in their classroom!
With a grant from the National Space Grant Foundation, Dr. Deborah McAllister conducted a weeklong workshop for pre-service elementary and middle school teachers that featured ways to use multimedia materials provided in a NASA Solar System Exploration Toolkit. In this technology rich-environment, she inspired them to look to the sky as they motivate students, guiding them to make the connection between the solar system, mathematics, science and space science.
Dr. Wil Robertson from the Marshall Space Flight Center presented programs to the teachers and certified the group to borrow lunar samples from Johnson Space Center in Houston to use in their classrooms.
“The lunar samples are encased in plastic, so they can be viewed, but not touched. It is suggested that the teacher have Earth-based samples of the same kind of rock for student inspection. This and other activities, are related to curriculum standards, and should pique student interest in mathematics, science, and technology,” said McAllister, UC Foundation Professor, UTC Teacher Preparation Academy.
The Toolkit is rich with connections between mathematics and science, McAllister said.
“For example, the Toolkit component, Making a Sun Clock, is an activity in which students investigate time (measurement) through a tool that demonstrates rotation of the Earth (mathematical processes),” said McAllister.