Potlatch 6th Grade Experiment is Out of This World
Monday, February 7 2011
MOSCOW, Idaho – Thirty-six Potlatch sixth graders and their teachers,
Andrea Bartosz and Gary Lam, spent Monday morning on a conference call
with NASA’s Houston Space Center finessing the details of a joint
project with NASA through the Kids in Micro-G Experiment Challenge.
Six experiments were chosen out of the 62 proposed to NASA through the
Kids in Micro-G Experiment challenge. The students from Potlatch were
thrilled to learn they were one of the schools chosen for the challenge.
The challenge was open to all schools across the nation and students
were asked to design an experiment that could be performed both in the
classroom and by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
After much brainstorming, the students chose an experiment, “Pepper Oil
Surprise,” which will investigate the interaction of liquid pepper/ oil
and water in a plastic bag in microgravity. Retired Potlatch science
teacher, Ken Beidler, helped the students conduct the actual experiment
under specific guidelines outlined by NASA.
After their classroom experiment results were analyzed, students
hypothesized as to what they thought their experiment results would be
in microgravity. The sixth graders will now videotape their experiment
so that the astronauts can duplicate it aboard the ISS. In return, the
astronauts will videotape the experiment as it takes place on the ISS
and send it back to the class for them to view. The experiments will be
conducted in the March to May timeframe and the students will each be
supplied with an individual video copy of their experiment before the
end of the school year.
Helping coordinate the project is Renee Lam, an avid volunteer in the
Potlatch school district. Renee and Gary Lam both participated in the
NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium’s Summer of Innovation program in the
summer of 2010 in Moscow. Following the SOI workshop, the sixth grade
teachers have placed a special emphasis on NASA-related areas of focus
such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Conducting the workshop was Ed Galindo of the University of Idaho. “Dr.
Galindo’s enthusiasm and encouragement have been the catalyst moving us
forward this year,” commented Gary Lam. “We researched the history of
the shuttle Discovery and have followed along waiting for its launch. We
designed and launched our own rockets and have now studied in depth
about the ISS and the astronauts aboard. The Kids in Micro-G challenge
has helped our students understand that with hard work, they are capable
of achieving great things.”
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About the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium
The NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium was established in 1991 as part of
the NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The ISGC
comprises 22 institutions including all colleges and universities in the
state, science centers and museums, science organizations, state
departments, industry representatives, a state park, and a national
Media Contacts: Becky Highfill, ISGC Program Coordinator, (208)
885-4934, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Brittany Harding, ISGC Communications
Assistant, (208) 885-6030, email@example.com; or on the web:
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu