Space

November 6, 2015
 

Teachers learn about rocks from outer space

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Leslie Williams
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

Teachers gathered around a replication of a planet surface and dropped objects to create impact caters.

A Lunar and Meteorite Disk Certification educator workshop was recently held at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s Office of Education’s Resource Center located at the AERO Institute in Palmdale, Calif.
Twenty regional teachers participated in a professional development workshop that was presented by Barbie Buckner, education specialist for the center, Maria Chambers, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., education specialist, Peter Merlin, subject matter expert, and education resource center manager Sondra Geddes.
“I loved all of the hands on activities that participants were able to do together,” said Debra Bernacchi a fourth grade teacher at Cummings Valley Elementary, Tehachapi, California. “Amazing and quite a humbling feeling to know that I was able to see lunar meteorite samples.” 
The workshop featured lunar disks with moon rock and soil samples brought back from the historic Apollo missions encapsulated in clear Lucite. Teachers engaged in hands-on, standards-based activities while learning about accretion, differentiation, cratering and volcanism. 
Merlin gave a presentation on meteorites. Additionally, he brought his personal collection of meteorites to show including a sample from the latest meteorite landing in Russia. He also talked about the Rosetta spacecraft’s mission to catch a comet.
Elementary teacher Maria Blue, Emblem Academy, Santa Clarita, Calif., exclaimed, “This was fantastic. The activities and learning opportunities will be something I can use immediately. I have been inspired. Great Job. Thanks for presenting an entertaining and educational workshop.”

Kristy Mar, a middle school teacher at J.H. Hull Middle School in Torrance, California, peers through microscope to examine moon rocks encapsulated in clear Lucite.

With the Lunar and Meteorite Disk Certification, educators can request to borrow the lunar or meteorite disk, for use within their classroom. Equipped with activities, students will have access to view and explore these small portions of these extraterrestrial materials.
“I learned so much and am excited to use these fun ideas in my classroom.  Thank you for sharing your passion with me,” said Emily Williams, kindergarten teacher, Emblem Academy, Saugus, Calif. Bryan Jacobs, a sixth grade teacher at Sequoia Elementary, Shafter, Calif, added, “This was a fast moving, constantly changing day. The most interesting teacher development I’ve attended.”




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