Final Day NES
The final day with NASA explorers schools was a bit sad. We were getting the feeling that NES would be no more. The changes being made on the Federal level were going to affect many NASA educational programs and it was definitely looking like NES would be one of them. My thoughts on this are for another blog entry.
The final day we went Plum Brook Station. This is another testing facility that is part of Glenn Research Center, but located on a 6,400 acre area in Sandusky, Ohio. The first testing facility we visited was the B-2 building which housed the Spacecraft Propulsion Research Facility. “It is the world’s only facility capable of testing full-scale upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions” (NASA) The facility has the ability to test all equipment that will encounter low temperatures, low pressure and other space environments.
Our other tour was at the Space Power Facility (SPF), this is a chamber they use to test various rocket parts, payload fairings, ISS equipment and rover airbag systems. Its pretty much the largest vacuum chamber built. The amount of pressure this chamber can withstand is amazing. Just a note here the facility was used in the Avengers movie. Everyone thought that was neat. Had to to get a photo in front of the facilities.
So the whole experience came to end in flash. And many of you are going to ask; what did you get for your classroom. I got a ton of ideas. First, the Zero G Drop facility gave me some ideas for a mini engineering project. Gravity and planets. Students would research different planets and how missions could land on them. They could build a model of the mission and test it on a Zero G tower model. Seems this would fit. Another lab or activity would use information from the Green Lab to teach students about alternative energy. We do a an alternative energy project in class, so I could add to this with a hands on portion. One other activity is the Slope activity. Using the EV3 Mindstorms students can create a rover that can drive on a slope similar to the one’s in the test facilities. Actually we did get a hands on activity for the slope from the researchers. I’m thinking a box of sand set up in the room would work for the testing part of the assignment. Tons of ideas for future lessons and activities .
These are just two ideas that I took from this experience. There are other ideas I’m thinking about. I think every experience I have had with NASA has always produced some awesome projects for my students. My students always benefit and they love to hear about all the places I have visited because of these experiences. .