Science in the Middle

doing 6th grade science – outside the box!

Beyond the 4 walls: SOFIA calls!

on September 10, 2015

We’re a month into the new school year, and I’m getting to know some outstanding students. I enjoy being around them every day. There is a lot of learning going on, but yet even more learning goes on outside the 4 walls of the classroom!  And some of that learning is done by adults – yes, even the ones thought to be the “givers of information” – the teachers.

How can you convince middle schoolers that learning goes on all through your life, and can be interesting and exciting!  Words alone won’t do it, but actions can. Sometimes those actions take a time commitment beyond what your p-5 step scale dictates. For me, each opportunity presented to me is one I have to at least try to undertake. This time, I’ve passed a selection process to become one of two dozen educators who will fly with astronomers a bit beyond our troposphere and bring it all back to the classroom. SOFIA – missions of NASA researchers on a flying observatory – with room for a few teachers and the curiosity of their students: Does lifelong learning get any more exciting than that? I can’t imagine NOT grabbing this opportunity with both hands, even if it means taking a semester long college course, seven days away from home, a strange schedule of waking and sleeping, breaking bread with (presumable nerdy like me) friends I’ve yet to meet. Yes, I am a proud Cycle 3 SOFIA Airborne Ambassador, and it is almost time to break out of the 4 walls of the classroom!

I’ll be joining the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy with several astronomers conducting research for their universities.  The scientists I will fly with could be from the USA, Germany, France or another place.  The SOFIA missions of NASA take Astronomy researchers to the stratosphere to explore our universe. Four teachers, including myself, will join them. Check back for updates from the ground – and from the air!

SOFIA patch

How many things can you deduce about SOFIA from the mission patch?  Please comment below with your guesses!


One response to “Beyond the 4 walls: SOFIA calls!

  1. Deb McClain says:

    This sounds like a blast!

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