Sallie A. Keith/Katherine K. Martin
NASA Glenn Research Center
February 8, 2006
Local Teachers Fly and Experiment on NASA's 'Weightless Wonder'
Teachers from Cumberland Middle School are taking their experiment out of the classroom and into NASA's "Weightless Wonder," a flying microgravity laboratory.
As part of their participation in the NASA Explorer Schools Program, Cumberland Middle School's Anna Mika, seventh grade math and science teacher, and Cheryl Schnell, eighth grade science teacher, along with Marge Lehky, Aerospace Education Specialist and Nancy Hall, research scientist, both at NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, will arrive at NASA's aircraft facility at Ellington Field, Johnson Space Center, Houston, on Feb. 13. They will spend a week preparing themselves and their experiment for a unique experience outside the bounds of gravity aboard the modified C-9 aircraft. The C-9 produces 25 seconds of weightlessness by flying in a roller-coaster-like path of steep climbs and free falls.
When the school was selected as a NASA Explorer School in 2004, it began a three-year partnership with NASA, using the agency's unique missions and resources to help address mathematics and science needs.
"By working with teachers to develop a microgravity experiment to fly on the aircraft, the investigations help students see an application of science and mathematics concepts," said NASA Explorer School Program Manager Peg Steffen. "Students worked closely with NASA engineers and scientist mentors on the experiments, giving them a first-hand look at possible careers."
Cumberland Middle School's experiment will help develop NASA's Vision for Space Exploration. The purpose of the experiment is to determine whether liquids of unequal densities separate differently in reduced gravity than they do on Earth in a gravitational environment. The students hope to verify four specific predictions of how liquids will behave in space.
Using the data gathered on the flight, teachers and students will submit a final report to NASA. They will discuss the experiment's effectiveness, scientific findings and conclusions.
The teachers who are flying the experiments at Johnson will also have the opportunity to communicate with their students in Cumberland, Wis. through videoconferencing via NASA's Digital Learning Network. After the team returns to Cumberland, they will then share the results of their science experiment with students through outreach activities.
For more information on NASA Education's Reduced Gravity Flight programs, call Debbie Nguyen of NASA Johnson Space Center at 281-483-5111, or visit the Web at:
For more information on NASA Explorer Schools on the Web, go to:
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