April 26, 2014
Metcalf fifth-grade student Kendal O’Gilvie greets the four other schools and representatives from NASA and the Department of State participating in the Mission Mars Virtual Field Trip Distance Learning Network event through Google+ Hangout on Friday.
April 26, 2014—Metcalf Elementary School fifth-grade students got an up-close look at the Red Planet on Friday, when they participated in the Mission Mars Virtual Field Trip, a collaboration of the NASA Digital Learning Network and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
Metcalf was one of five schools to take part in the first-ever international Google+ hangout to explore the planet Mars. Other participating schools were from Argentina, Nicaragua, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
Education and content experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) presented a special lesson about Mars rovers, followed by a short question and answer session via Google+ Hangout.
Metcalf technology liaison Carola Lowe’s class was selected to participate based on the school’s high level of involvement in Distance Learning Network (DLN) events.
Fifth-grade students in technology teacher Carola Lowe’s classroom participate in the first-ever international Google+ hangout to explore the planet Mars along with schools from Argentina, Nicaragua, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
“We try to bring that real-life application to learning all the time,” Lowe said. “This one was cool. We did a similar Mars event before but this was more in-depth. It was really neat that we could actually talk to someone who creates the rovers and ask them questions.”
With NASA JPL DLN education specialist Lyle Tavernier and Mars Science Laboratory deputy project scientist Ashwin Vasavada moderating, students from the schools took turns answering quiz questions and asking questions of their own.
Metcalf students Jaidin Shaw, Kendal O’Gilvie and Arianna Glace all had the opportunity to speak on the webcam.
It’s fun because it’s different from what we usually do. I want to do it again one day,” Shaw said. “My favorite part was when they showed us how the rocket carrying the Mars Rover landed.”
O’Gilvie, who said her favorite subjects are science and math, also enjoyed the live Q&A aspect of the virtual field trip.
“I liked it when they said they might be able to bring rock samples back from Mars,” she said. “Those would be really neat to study.”
Lowe said she was proud of her students’ participation on such a large stage, with representatives from NASA and the State Department watching.
“I told them they are seasoned veterans by now because they’ve been doing this since kindergarten,” Lowe said. “They ate it up and they had a blast, and that’s how learning should be.”
Metcalf students review a quiz question on a worksheet before presenting an answer to a NASA moderator during the Mission Mars Virtual Field Trip.
Metcalf fifth-grade teacher Bridget Smith congratulates student Jaidin Shaw after participating in a successful distance learning event with NASA.