Educator Features

Flat David
Flat David on a model of the space shuttle
The NASA Mission... to understand, explore, and inspire... depends upon people with the ingenuity to invent new tools, the passion to solve problems, and the courage to ask difficult questions. NASAexplores team members are just such people. NASAexplores provides free weekly K-12 educational articles and lesson plans on current NASA projects. Printable and downloadable, these supplemental curriculum resources meet national education standards.

Image to right: Flat David is exploring a model of a Space Shuttle. Credit: NASA

The team always faces a challenge with enthusiasm, so upon receiving an e-mail from a parent asking for someone at NASA to help her eight-year-old son, David Hanson, with his Flat Stanley project, the team knew they had to respond. In the book, Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown, Stanley is flattened by a falling bulletin board. One of the advantages is that Flat Stanley can visit his friends by traveling in an envelope. The Flat Stanley Project is a group of teachers who want to provide students with a fun reason to write. When David was given the assignment, he decided to name his figure, Flat David. Soon, the NASAexplores team was taking "Flat David's" picture at famous landmarks at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. The NASAexplores team even wrote an article about the Flat David project.

Astronaut Fred Leslie and the Hanson twins
David and his parents were so excited with the results of the project and the support the NASAexplores team provided they journeyed with David's twin brother, Curtis, from their home in Massachusetts last summer to meet the team, to visit MSFC, and even to meet astronaut Fred Leslie. David has always wanted to be an astronaut, and thanks to dedicated employees like the NASAexplores team, he's being encouraged to pursue that dream. "I really want to be an astronaut when I grow up. I want to see in space, all the planets and the world from all around," David said.

Image to left: Astronaut Fred Leslie interacts with the Hanson twins as a picture of Flat David is taken. Credit: NASA

Full of enthusiasm, David has even written an article about how "Flat David" helped save a NASA space center. By dedicating a small amount of time, the team was able to make a big difference in a young life. The team has planted a seed of hope and inspiration in a young mind, shining as an example for other NASA team members as we seek to inspire the next generation of explorers. That little seed has already begun to sprout: David's and Curtis' classes recently wrote and sent letters to two of the NASA team members to thank them for the NASA goodies David brought them, and to share what they've learned about space. And, the seed will continue to grow as David's project is shared. "David and I thank you so much," said Elaine Rohaly, David's mom. "His teacher loved it and even shared it with other classes and his principal!"

Dawn Gaddis/MSFC