Friday, March 1, 2013

Frostwood Students Ask the Experts

Rendering of the Mars Rover - Curiosity
This week students at Frostwood Elementary had the opportunity to Skype with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab's (JPL) Lyle Travernier.  Travernier, a scientist at JPL who was involved in the design of the rover used on Mars, offered a scientist's perspective on the rover, Curiosity,  and the job it is doing exploring the red planet. 

The Skype activity was the culmination of  student research using the inquiry approach. The students have learned that research begins with I wonder.  Asking questions about the world and beyond have inspired them to literally reach for the stars in the  never-ending circle of inquiry where the power of asking questions becomes a motivating force. With the tool of Skyping, study extends beyond school walls to experts in the field who can converse and interact with the learner.

Expert Travernier offered firsthand experience and showed students engineer’s diagrams, information on the team of scientists and engineers working on the rover, and simulation video on the rocket launch. Students asked questions on the materials used to make the rover, the ability for it to blast through the gravity barrier, and the exploration of life on Mars.

Last year, Frostwood students researched dolphins and Skyped with the experts from Clearwater Aquarium. Scientists created a custom broadcast and answered the students questions expanding their study beyond the knowledge found in a book, databases or website. The ability to ask the experts gives insight and perspective students would not have in a traditional book or with online databases.

Thank you to Frostwood Elementary's Lisa Branon for sharing this exciting story with SBISD.



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