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Brevard County Space Week
A large group of students at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Hundreds of sixth-graders from Brevard County schools participated in Brevard Space Week from Nov. 29 through Dec. 9 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossman

What's it like to live and work in space? Almost 6,000 Brevard County sixth-graders had a rare opportunity to experience this and much more during the ninth Brevard Space Week at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex from Nov. 29 through Dec. 9.

Educator Resource Center Education Specialists Linda Scauzillo and Laura Colville presented two programs daily in the IMAX II Theater to groups of students and teachers from about 30 elementary schools in the county. The program topics included Space Shuttle Program history; how vehicles are launched; NASA's continued presence on the International Space Station; and robotics and the use of the robotic arm on the space station.

In its ninth year, Brevard Space Week is designed to encourage young students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, curricula.

"Science is my passion. It's fun to experiment and show the students hands-on science activities," said Colville, who was a science teacher at Eau Gallie High School before coming to Kennedy in 2001.

During one of the programs Dec. 2, Colville demonstrated the properties of liquid nitrogen and how it reacts with objects such as an inflated balloon and a leaf. She then invited several students to participate in hands-on demonstrations, including using tools and sleeping in space.

Colville said the most common question she is asked is how astronauts go to the bathroom in space. But many students also ask other creative questions about how astronauts eat in space and how liquid nitrogen is stored.

Scauzillo, who was a K-6 educator in Brevard County for 10 years, has been at the ERC for nearly five years and involved with Brevard Space Week since 2007.

"The most interesting question I've been asked is, 'What do we still have to learn to be able to live on the surface of Mars?'" Scauzillo said. "I found it interesting because the sixth-grade student was thinking about all of the information that we need to gather before implementing a mission to Mars."

Scauzillo said the question shows even children as young as those in elementary school are thinking about the future and the possibilities for space exploration.

"Brevard Space Week is important because it inspires students to study STEM disciplines and helps them realize the opportunities that are available to them," Scauzillo said.

Before the start of space week, a special workshop was held Nov. 16 for about 90 sixth-grade teachers at the Brevard County School Board office in Viera.

The topic on how to design a lunar thermos was one that had been requested by the educators.

The students' day excursion also included a tour of the visitor complex, a meet and greet with an astronaut, and viewing of the Hubble 3-D film.

Some major sponsors of this year's Brevard Space Week include the Brevard Schools Foundation, National Space Club, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Space Alliance, and Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts.

Related Links
NASA Links for Educators
NASA Links for Students
About NASA Education
Brevard Schools Space Week

Linda Herridge/NASA Kennedy Space Center Public Affairs