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Odebolt Arthur -- Battle Creek Ida Grove Community Schools, Ida County, Iowa
Fifth-grade boy drawing with colored pencils

Fifth-grader Ethan shows his winning mission patch design. Image Credit: SSEP

Experiment: Killifish in Space

SSEP: More Than Just Science in the Elementary School

"When I got the award, I jumped up and felt the best I ever felt! I couldn't even believe it. I never thought I was going to win it. There are so many good drawers in my class, and I thought one of them would win," said Ethan, a fifth-grade student at Battle Creek Intermediate School. Ethan designed the winning mission patch for his district's Student Spaceflight Experiments Program experiment. "At first, when I was drawing it, I didn't know what I was going to do. It just didn't look right, so I had to change it. When I finished the second time, everyone told me it looked good. I Googled 'Soyuz' so I could see what a rocket should look like, then started trying to draw."

"I keep telling everyone that we need to invest in our elementary students in science," said Staci Rohlk, Ethan's teacher. "This is an example of how excited these kids can get when they are allowed to be involved in real science. Many of my students worked very hard on proposals and mission patches. We need programs like this."

"I submitted an experimental proposal, but it didn't get selected," added Ethan. "I wanted to know how mold would grow on tomatoes in space. I am just really glad my patch gets to fly. Just like how the flag represents the United States, the patch I made represents our school getting to fly in space. It is a great opportunity for this to happen."

To read about the other student experiments for Mission 1 to the International Space Station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/station-here-we-come.html.

Jim Christensen/Northwest Area Education Agency