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Opportunity for Students to Work One-On-One with NASA

CCSD Staff 2 - 1/28/2021 9:30:00 AM

Later this year, our fifth-grade through ninth-grade students, learning both in-person and virtually, will have the chance to participate in a space habitation project through a recent grant the district secured through the NASA Glenn Research Center. This project will give the students to the opportunity to discuss the project with NASA engineers and problem solvers via Zoom.

The project centers around one question - what will it take to live on Mars? Students will be asked to reflect on the community in which they live now. From there, they will have to decide what they want to implement in their community on Mars to make it a sustainable home for humans – this is where the research component comes into play.

Students will have the choice in which part of the community they want to build, so they can decide what they want to learn about. For example, they can choose between learning how to breathe on Mars, how to eat, how to get around and more.

After the research portion of the project is over, students will build model rovers using Legos and robotics kits. Letts and Good are hoping to build a mock Mars surface for students to test out their rovers.

“We’re going to utilize different kinds of technology for this project, so the students can share their thoughts and feedback, even if they’re currently learning from home,” said Good. “This is a great opportunity for students to be accountable for each other and to chase a solution, rather than a grade.”

After receiving the grant, Letts and STEM facilitator Amber Good received a virtual training and tour of the facilities. They also had the chance to talk with NASA engineers. These activities ensured Letts and Good were able to set students up for success with their projects.

“Part of my role as STEM specialist is to apply for grant opportunities,” said Dana Letts, STEM specialist at CCSD. “When I saw this opportunity for our kids to work directly with NASA, I knew we couldn’t pass it up. It’s not every day students get to work closely with top-notch engineers like those at NASA.”

This project is not mandatory, so students who have a particular interest in space should express interest to their teacher. If your child is interested in participating, contact Dana Letts at dana.letts@ccsd.us or Amber Good at amber.good@ccsd.us.