Today was our final day at the school. For our last day, our activity was on Mars Landers and students had the chance to build and test their own landers. For the activity, the students each had a “$500” budget to buy materials like tape, balloons, scissors, string, and cups. Their goal was to create landers that safely got their astronauts to the ground without damage. After a discussion on designs used by NASA over the last 4 decades, students planned their own designs and created budgets that they implemented after intensely bartering for their goods. Once all landers were built, students had the chance to test them by tossing them from the second floor of the school. While some fared better than others, all ultimately made it down. It was great to see how excited all the students were to get to test their own creations and take ownership of something they made.
After finishing up our activity for the day, Fr. Leslie, the principal of the school, treated us to a fabulous meal in honor of our helping out for the week. While it was meant to give thanks to us for our work, we truly have to thank him and the rest of the staff at his school for allowing us to have this opportunity again. We know we are welcome to come back any time.
We finished the day at the school with a seminar for the teachers. We talked with 12 teachers from the school about topics in astronomy and about the activities that we had done with their students throughout the week. We were impressed at how good the teachers were at working with our “fabric of space-time” activity, getting a better orbit than any of us could. We closed the session off with a discussion on how we come up with activities and plan lessons. It was great to see teachers taking notes on the 5E method and thinking about how they can use these activities, and activities of their own, to better their instruction and help the students meet their potential. We hope to be given the opportunity to work with even more teachers in the future.
Tomorrow, we are taking our snow day!