2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


MOHLER, Robert R.J.1, MOHLER, Jeremy R.2, MOHLER, Jonathan J.2, MOHLER, Jennifer A.2, GIARDINO, John R.3, VITEK, John D.4 and MEDER, Ronald J.5, (1)Project Integration, Lockheed Martin Space Operations, 2400 NASA Road 1, Mail Code C42, Houston, TX 77058, (2)810 Noble Springs Road, Houston, TX 77062, (3)HARP, Office of Graduate Studies and Department of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M Univ, 125 Olin E. Teague Research Center, MS 1113, College Station, TX 77843-1113, (4)Academic Affairs and School of Geology, Oklahoma State Univ, Stillwater, OK 74078, (5)Communications, Lockheed Martin Space Operations, 2625 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058, robert.mohler@lmco.com

One of the most basic methods to get children interested in science, especially earth science, is through conducting experiments. When experiments can be combined with the US Space Program, then the chances for holding the interest of the children increases. Presented are the results of a volunteer effort dedicated to providing elementary students (Kindergarten through fifth grade) access to experiments involving the microgravity of space flight. Scientists from Lockheed Martin (and his children), Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, donate their time and act as mentors to the participating teachers and students. Most of the expenses related to the education about space flight are shouldered by Lockheed Martin Space Operations, Houston TX and Instrumentation Technology Associates, Exton, PA. This effort is centered on reaching children at an early age and exposing them to the challenges, especially the fun of science and mathematics. The current experimental design and overall learning processes concentrate specifically on crystal growth as geared to the elementary student. The crystal growth experiment is manifested on STS-107 (July 2002). Prior to conducting the experiment, we discuss various lesson plans with the teachers to hone their earth science lectures in regards to understanding/appreciating basic crystal growth and structure. The experiment is broken down into major topic sessions (usually six) of no more than one hour each. Again, the experiment is national with schools from several states participating. The poster/presentation displays lesson plans, experiment design, materials required, student hypotheses, control and experiment results as well as information on how elementary schools can become involved in future space experiments.