LANCASTER – Students from Eastside Union School District are thrilled to learn their science labs will soon include actual pieces from the moon, thanks to teachers Terra Pennsy of Columbia Elementary and Amanda Sullivan of Tierra Bonita Elementary. The two Eastside teachers took part in NASA’s Lunar and Meteorite workshop for K-12 educators, and NASA has now certified them to have actual parts of the moon in their classrooms for student science labs.
“Students will be able to reach new heights by learning hands-on from actual materials of the moon and meteorites,” stated Eastside Union School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Marshall. “We are grateful that [our] faculty and staff continue to seek new opportunities for our students.”
The NASA workshop featured lunar disks with moon rock and soil samples brought back from the historic Apollo missions. Both Eastside teachers engaged in hands-on, standards-based activities on accretion, differentiation, cratering and volcanism. Sullivan and Pennsy can now submit a request to obtain lunar and meteorite materials to use within their classrooms.
“What’s most exciting to me is we can pass on next generation science skills to our students and get them excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects and future careers,” said Sullivan. “The kids we are teaching now will be the generation that makes it to Mars—and, indeed, a number of my kids have come up to me after labs to tell me they want to be astronauts now and be a part of the first Mars Colony.”
The NASA certification process goes hand in hand with EUSD’s goal to implement more STEM learning activities for students.
Sullivan and Pennsy will be attending the next NASA workshop this month, Earth Right Now: Atmosphere, in which participants will learn about the GLOBE program, an international science and education program.