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Monday, February 25, 2008

Fun Experiences in the Classroom

By Sheila Powell
Space Center Teacher

I had a fun experience in the classroom last week that I must share, too: I had just shown the kids the video clip of how the balance of nuclear fussion energy and gravity forms stars. I asked the kids if stars have so many nuclear fussion reactions at any one time, what keeps the stars from "blowing apart"? No answer from any of the kids, expect one. The kid was sitting right in front of me at the front of the class. He jumped up (scared me really!), waving and yelling loudly "GRAVITY!!!" I was a bit stunned by his excitement, and said something to the affect of:" I appreciate your enthusiasm, and yes Gravity is the correct answer". I gave him a marshmellow for his answer...he continued his excitement by doing a "high-five-I'M great-I'm good" dance in front of the class. I said, I appreciate your excitement for the answer (trying to calm him a bit), but then he responded: "You don't understand. I'm not the brightest kid in this class and when I get an answer right it's really a big deal for me!!!!!!" I started laughing, his teaching started laughing...the whole class was roaring with laughter at this kid's answer and announcement of his "place in the world." The kid was laughing too as what he'd said!! I thanked him for his answer and his honesty regarding his educational status in the class. We all continued to giggle for awhile and finally got back to business. But I do know this: That kid "beamed" so brightly, proud of his answer, that for the rest of the time, I didn't need to turn on the lights in the classroom. We/the space center helped that kid realize, if only for a brief moment, that he was smart, capable and equal to his classmate. Yep, that was a great moment...a "Mount Everest" teaching/student moment indeed!!!

Here's another fun story from the classroom:

As I was preparing yet another group for the scary transporting process, one young girl looked at me particularly frightened. She looked a bit pale in fact. I reassured her that the transporting process was painless, and would only make her "armpits tickle" for a moment and then she would be on the ship.."at the speed of light", I told her. She looked me dead in eye and said, "I trust you...for now", and stepped bravely into the transporter. As I quickly rotated the transporter tube and preceded to transport her to her Voyager destination, we all (those anxiously waiting to be transported) heard her yell LOUDLY , "Tell my mother I love her!" We all bust out laughing.!!!! I love the fine line we all walk-- moving the kids everyday between reality and sci-fi ---with these kids...too much fun!!!!


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