Beyond Briarhill Middle School | Campus Hosts NASA Downlink with International Space Station
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Beyond Briarhill Middle School | Campus Hosts NASA Downlink with International Space Station


Two years ago, we designed a field trip
like no other. We decided to make video conferences to people from all seven
continents. All over the world. We tried to videoconference on the hour
every hour for 24 hours. And we decided after the first. We knew we wanted to
go above and beyond. We’ve covered all seven continents. Let’s go outside. Let’s go to space. Space? How can we talk to space? And one of the things that I was unaware of is that you could apply to do a Downlink with the space station. Filled on application of Ms. Weesner kind of took the lead, and all the departments
filled in where we could incorporate space And we applied not really thinking anything of it. And it was sometime in the summer I believe I got a call from Ms. Weesner going “We got it! We are gonna be talking to the space station. We’ve talked all seven continents and we’re over fifty countries. Now, we’re in outer space. We were so ecstatic. I mean, it’s amazing because I told my kids that this is a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ll never probably get again to talk
to an astronaut in space. So, immediately from the get-go it was “What can we do?”, “What fun things can we incorporate?” Make sure that we do in the classroom. We just really took it and ran with it. We were so happy. We had to come up with lessons
connecting to math and so connecting to math was what we were going for and so
we came up with the idea of scale factor and giving the students perspective on
how large the space station actually is And we created a coordinate grid where
the students plotted ordered pairs on the grid and it created a scale model
and then we got the idea while the size of a football field about so let’s let’s
run with it and the district got involved and we painted it on the field
and the kids were able to go out and see that it was still proportional, but it’s
this pretty big thing and they had drawn it on a little piece of paper. So, it was
pretty cool for them to make that connection. The entire McAuliffe Elementary School was put on the football field, and it was
just a tiny part of the International Space Station that we drew. The yellow was just an outline at the living quarters. I thought that was the whole thing. I could not believe that they lived in there. It was pretty small to live in for months sometimes even years. I had no idea that the International
Space Station was the size of a football field. To actually see those shapes on the field with the solar arrays and the living quarters and the actual length of the space station. To give the students a much bigger idea of how large the station is. As the kids were getting excited, the teacher started to get excited also. And they were incorporating it into their art projects. And in ELA, teachers were incorporating the ISS into their writing assignments. Science was learning about what it’s like to live in space. And the what happens to your body and your muscles. So, you know the excitement really has been rising and we’re so excited. Briarhill Middle School this is Mission Control Houston. Do you copy? Station, this is Briarhill Middle School how do you hear me? Briarhill Middle School, this is Station. Welcome aboard. I hear you loud and clear. How about me? We hear you loud and clear. All of this work that we’ve been doing all of the planning and the kids research and got
real in a hurry. You could just feel the electricity. I feel like I got chills, because I know that that’s a really huge opportunity for our kids. And I felt like
that they knew that too. The screaming, the applause, I mean I feel like they finally were able to own everything that we’ve been doing up to this point. For the majority of students, they were excited they were thought it was going to be very cool, but it it was beyond anything that that we could ever have
predicted in terms of their reaction to it. All I heard was that was awesome. Did
you see that? Did you see him do the flip? Did you see him talk about the yo-yo? That’s what makes all of this worthwhile. Because we worked so hard to make sure
our kids have these opportunities and experiences. My favorite part was probably when he
did a front flip or when I got to talk to him. Twenty of us kids asked him questions
and he answered. A bunch of very important people came. Like Mike Kincaid the Associate Administrator for Education at NASA, Governor Greg Abbott. A bunch of people that are very important. I wanted to come here because this is a great example of exceptionalism in the state of Texas. I got to read and learn about everything that Briarhill Middle School had done to prepare for this event. And it truly was an example of going above and beyond what is
typically expected. It is a great example of what students can achieve when they set their mind to it. Working along with tremendous faculty and administrators to achieve the very best. Once it came down to it, we all came together as a staff community everything together. Some of our kids their athletes. Some of our kids are artists, but this kind of brought all of that together. And all these kids were
able to have a hand in something in this event and know that they can accomplish
what they set out to and they can be a part of something extraordinary with
just even a little bit of hard work. It was just an amazing feeling to see
somebody that was living in a world that I could never dream of. I think this is a great opportunity and I’m just really excited that we got to do it. I’m just gonna be able to remember this experience for the rest of my life and
just how cool it was to experience all the awesome things that we got to learn
from him. This is a very special day in Texas. A very special day for the school, a great day for these kids.

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