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Talk With NASA Astronauts Gets Kids Excited About Math And Science

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Dr. Steven Swanson and Reid Wiseman appeared on the big screen at the Elliott Ranch Elementary gym and said six words that got the students very excited.

"We read you loud and clear."

Students packed the school's gym for an event that was half science class and half trip to the circus. On the big screen... a live feed from space with astronauts on the International Space Station talking about their work while doing back flips and tricks with a soccer ball in microgravity.

Maanasa Vasam is in the sixth grade. She recently finished a science project about the Space Station.  She asked astronaut Reid Wiseman what he's been working on.

"We have a cool robot up here, and right now our robot doesn't have any legs. And tomorrow, we'll be putting the legs on the robot and we should be able to see this robot very soon take its first steps in space, which will be a big thing for us up here."

Maanasa says she was impressed with the robot, but even more so by the astronauts' discovery of plant life growing on the outside of the Space Station.

"I never even thought that was possible because there's no air and no water."

Wiseman says he’s excited by the discovery.

"I've been thinking about this when I'm floating in my bed at night trying to go to sleep. How could this even be?"

Ethan Lipsie is in fourth grade. He thinks an elevator could be built to reach the Space Station.

"When I grow up, I'll do good in school, I'll try to see if I can become an engineer and try to build it. What's it gonna take to build it? I don't know, something like, I don't know. Just a long time and a lot of money."

Last year, NASA announced a competition for schools to show why they should be connected on a live feed with the Space Station.

Eva Mosakowski is the parent of two children at the school and led the school's competition committee.

She says she thought Science Technology Engineering and Math or STEM curricula could be taught in elementary schools.

"The children are definitely very excited. We built some events out around this. It's not the only event happening. It's really our kickoff for the year for the STEM initiatives."

STEM classes are typically taught in middle school and high school.

Elliott Ranch is awaiting delivery of a 3-D printer and has plans to incorporate it and a future presentation from Aerojet Rocketdyne into lesson plans.  

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