Girls in Lake County, Ohio Explore Space!
Girls in Lake County, Ohio, with the assistance of Willoughby Middle School Earth Science teacher Tony Marinelli and Space Explorers Inc., took part in an online computer chat with planetary geologist Dr. Aileen Yingst on June 24, 2005. Using the computers at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, six girls entering first and second grade were able to "talk" to Dr. Yingst about careers and current findings in the field of space exploration.
The online chat was the culminating activity of a week-long science camp held at Lakeland Community College from June 20-24, 2005. Space Explorers, Inc. provided the K-3 Space® curriculum for the camp.
"I am amazed at the quality of this curriculum," Marinelli said. "The hands-on, minds-on activities contained in this curriculum allowed my students to use their knowledge of everyday events on Earth and apply them to the space."
The girls conducted hands-on experiments that tried to answer questions such as the following:
- What do we get from the Sun?
- What is the biggest difference between day and night?
- What causes the seasons on Earth?
- How big is the Sun?
- How far away is the Sun from Earth?
- Why does the moon look different every night?
- Why do some planets take longer to orbit the Sun?
- What makes one planet different from another planet?
"By contemplating these questions, the girls began to think about how we can use models and pictures to develop possible explanations," Marinelli said.
Marinelli choose to conduct this camp based upon the recommendation of parents of young ladies in his previous summer science camps.
"I learned from these parents that more young girls would participate in my science camps if they were not outnumbered by the boys," Marinelli said. "So I choose to create an all-girls camp with space as the overall theme because as girls get older, they tend to shy away from careers in math and science."
The girls ended their week by launching and recovering model rockets. They learned that propelling a rocket into space is not an easy task!
Marinelli added, "Special thanks goes to Hollie Miller of Space Explorers for arranging the online chat with Dr. Yingst, Tim Lewaren and Jim Schmidt of Space Explorers for helping to plan the activities for the camp, and Nan Mayer of Lakeland Community College for embracing the idea of a girls space camp."