Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hamlin Student Wins NASA Space Contest

You may have noticed there's a lot of winning cropping up in this blog. That says a lot about the quality of education at The Hamlin School, which I produced both this video, and one lower down the page, for. But I suspect there are many, many stories like this going unnoticed.

Too few reporters are on the street. And not enough schools are hiring journalists to dig up their stories.

Here's a tidbit from NASA for any science wonks who might be interested in the particulars of the contest:

"Kids in Micro-g" is a student experiment design challenge geared toward grades 5-8. Its purpose is to give students a hands-on opportunity to design an experiment or simple demonstration that could be performed both in the classroom and aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The winning experiments will have observably different results when the experiments are performed in the "1-gravity" or "1-g" environment of the classroom, compared to when the experiments are performed by Astronauts in the "Micro-g" environment (one-millionth of 1-g) environment of the ISS. The apparatus for the demonstration must be constructed using materials from a materials tool kit provided to the astronauts on board the ISS. The tool kit consists of materials commonly found in the classroom and used for science demonstrations.

The experiment demonstration must take no more than 30 minutes to set up, run and take down.

Experiment proposals should be limited to no more than 7 pages in length in either Microsoft Word or PowerPoint format or a Word or PowerPoint file converted to PDF format. A font size of no smaller than 11 point (the size of this type) should be used. Hardcopy experiment proposals submitted by postal mail should provide text and graphics on one side only, for a submission length of no more than 7 total sheets. All experiment proposals should include photographic documentation of the proposed experiment in its fully set up configuration, as part of the 7 page total document length.

The following details must be contained in the experiment proposal:
1) Subject of the experimental investigation
2) Hypothesis of the expected outcome in the classroom and onboard the International Space Station (ISS)
3) StepbyStep experiment procedure, to be written for use by the ISS Astronauts. The procedure must include the following information:
a. Experiment assembly and set up instructions (only using items from the Kids In Microg materials list)
b. Instructions for running the experiment
c. Instructions for experiment take down
d. Instructions for data gathering and recording during the experiment run
e. Instructions for data analysis
4) Conclusions:
a. Observed from experiment runs in the class room
b. Expected results from the experiment when conducted onboard the ISS
5) Observed inclassroom time for actual experiment setup, experiment run and experiment take down,
using the exact stepbystep procedures provided in 3) above.
6) References used for experiment development

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