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  • Woodruff School's space success on Internet

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    Staff Writer
    Copyright 2003 Bridgeton News. Used with permission.

    UPPER DEERFIELD TWP. -- Due to the overwhelming success Lynne Triantos and her classes at the Woodruff School have had with the Space Explorers program, they will be displayed on the Space Explorers Inc. website (www.space-explorers.com) through Wednesday.

    Whether their mission has been to command a rocket to outer space or to be a NASA scientist for the day, students in Triantos' talented and gifted class are learning through hands-on methods space can be a fun and educational place to visit.

    Over the past four years, Triantos said, her classes have taken part in three Space Explorers programs, including Marslink and Moonlink, which allow students, through the use of a computer program, to command a rocket to Mars or the moon, as well as Orbital Laboratory, which has students grow the same plants astronauts grew while they were at the space station.

    "A majority of the pictures on the website are from last years Orbital Laboratory program," she said. "Still, from doing all of the programs, my students have learned the importance of teamwork. These programs have also given the students a chance to broaden their horizons and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world situations."

    Last year, Triantos said, her students hit an unexpected glitch in their Orbital Laboratory project, but in the end they learned a valuable lesson from the situation.

    "The first set of seeds the students planted for the program seemed to be growing very well, but when the blizzard in Feb. 2003 dumped almost two feet of snow in South Jersey, the plants died because we were not in school and could not water and take care of them," she said. "Still, because the project did not go as expected, the students learned that things don't always go as planned and being flexible is essential."

    When her students found out they were be featured on the website, Triantos said they were excited and could not wait to see the pictures.

    "Once we were on the website, I printed out the pictures for the students," she said. "We never expected to be featured on Space Explorers and especially not on the front page."

    Principal Dr. James H. Turner said he is proud of the students and Triantos for the effort they have put into the program.

    "We were thrilled when they choose us for the website," he said. "Mrs. Triantos has done a great job with the program and the children really seem to enjoy it."

    There are many benefits to the space exploration program, Turner said, and the school intends to keep using it with its talented and gifted class.

    "This type of program takes the students past what they learn in the their regular science classes," he said. "It also teaches them good life skills such as decision making and teamwork."

    Chrissy Paape, spokeswoman for Space Explorers, said the company decided to feature Triantos and her students because they were the perfect example of the program and its goals.

    "We featured Mrs. Triantos and her students because of her overwhelming support and enthusiasm for the program," she said. "She is a great teacher and she has added so many things to our program and we wanted to showcase her and thank her for her help."

    One of the interesting twists Triantos has added to the program, Paape said, included having her students write a 100-word essay explaining why they should have a certain position during the simulations, instead of just assigning jobs to students.

    Triantos said the students had a good time trying to get the job they wanted and she felt the exercise helped them learn to express themselves.

    "The outcome of this exercise was positive," she said, "and the students enjoyed the challenge of vying for the important positions."

    This year's students, Triantos said, will be taking part in the Marslink program and she said she expects the same positive results.

    "This year will be especially interesting because we were able to send our names to Mars via a disc on the space mission," she said. "So, when the students study Mars, it will be like they are part of the mission and this will get them really interested in learning as much as they can."

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