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Summer SAVY, Session 4 Day 1, Space Academy (Whiting) (3rd – 4th)

Posted by on Sunday, July 7, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Welcome, astronauts, to Space Academy! Today, we got some exciting news from NASA. They are launching a new program called Cosmic Cadets. With this unique program, our students are training for their own missions in space.  

Before lunch, we analyzed the Cosmic Cadet program and wrote letters to NASA explaining our qualifications and presenting our top three questions about the program. We also took an entry exam for the Cosmic Cadet program. Tomorrow, we will work through multiple NASA challenges related to key skills for astronauts including intelligence, physical fitness, teamwork, and adaptability. Reflect with your astronaut on the components of challenges. Why might challenge be important? What strategies can we use to overcome difficulties we encounter?  

Our key learning today was about the Scientific Method and gravity. We explored the ideas of microgravity and zero gravity. Ask your astronaut tonight which term is better to describe gravity in space and why. To analyze space’s gravity, we did two major experiments. Astronauts sought to answer two problem questions. The first was, “How do astronauts eat fresh food in space?” We learned from NASA’s Microgravity Plant Scientists about plant farming in space. Then, we applied the scientific method to prove our hypotheses. Our astronauts have created a microgravity farm simulation and will be growing lima beans in two groups with different variables all week. We will observe, analyze changes, and report progress daily, so this is an excellent thing to discuss with your astronaut each evening.  

The second question about gravity was, “How do astronauts entertain themselves in space?” We also asked, “Do toys behave the same in space as they do on Earth? What is gravity’s role in toy behavior?” Again, we applied the scientific method to hypothesize and experiment. Astronauts played with five toys: a boomerang, marbles, a top, a soccer ball, and a yo-yo. They recorded observations about the toys’ Earth behavior. Then, we watched videos of NASA astronauts playing with the same toys in space. Again, we recorded observations about the toys’ behavior and compared them. All of this led to some excellent discussion on gravity’s impact on Earth and in space!  

Our overarching theme this week is Exploration. If you want to extend learning tonight, you might consider reading some Space Poetry. I recommend “Moonlight” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Moon” by Amy E. Sklansky, or “Science-Fiction Cradlesong” by C.S. Lewis. As you read, look for connections to space and exploration. We will use these high-level texts throughout the week, so multiple readings at home will help prepare students for coursework!  

It’s going to be a great week at Space Academy! Tomorrow, we launch into new learning related to these topics: flight, force, orbit (with connections to gravity), space suits, and space shuttles. We will also begin our exploration of the Solar System with stops at the International Space Station, the Sun, and the Moon.  

Until next time, stay safe and reach for the stars!  

Ms. Whiting