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Science Students to Participate in Video Conference with Johnson Space Center

Release Date: 5/8/2009 2:01:25 PM

Eighth grade Earth Science students from Sykesville Middle School will join Advanced Placement Physics students from Winters Mill High School and Westminster High School in an interactive video conference with educational specialists from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on Thursday, May 21, 2009, beginning at 12:50 p.m. Please note the change in date. This will be the first connection that includes students that uses the schools’ new interactive video conferencing equipment, which provides real-time, high quality, two-way audio and video connection among remote locations. This new technology capability was made possible by the recent connection of these schools to the county-wide Carroll County Public Network fiber-optic network.
The connection with NASA is through the agency’s Digital Learning Network. This network provides free, interactive programs for students of all ages to learn more about the Earth and the universe. Each program is live and includes NASA experts and/or educational specialists who interact with the students while delivering expert content information tailored to the learning objectives outlined by the teacher. 
The Carroll County students will participate in the “Return to the Moon Challenge” which involves a series of two conferences with NASA education specialists. The first conference will include a NASA-facilitated look back at America’s Apollo program in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Afterwards, students will be given a challenge to design a new Lunar Base Habitat and justify the best geographic location for a permanent base on the moon that parallels NASA's vision and mission for returning to the Moon.
During the second conference – scheduled for May 27 for Westminster and Winters Mill High Schools and June 8 for Sykesville Middle School – students will conduct formal presentations to the NASA educational specialists to demonstrate their successful fulfillment of the mission objectives. Student presentations will involve use of PowerPoint or other multi-media tools. 
The instructional objectives for this conference connection complement and extend the Carroll County Public School System’s curricular objectives for both the Physics and Earth Science courses. Specifically, students will use science process skills to review Apollo era Lunar Module designs and missions and work collaboratively to design a Lunar Base Habitat, including its capabilities, gross weight, and size. Students will also collaborate to determine and justify the best site for the mission by considering lunar geology, geography, and past NASA experiences. 
Interactive video conferencing provides students with opportunities to collaborate synchronously with science professionals all over the world in a high definition environment. Following this pilot connection series, students in Carroll County Public Schools science classes will communicate with scientists associated with the Center on Marine Biotechnology, NOAA’s Ocean Explorers’ Program, and other programs.

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