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Weighty Lessons

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What can you learn from zero gravity?What does it feel like to be weightless? The Northrop Grumman Foundation gave teachers from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania the chance to find out. Its new 2007 Weightless Flights of Discovery Program offers the opportunity for teachers to experience simulated gravity.

The program hopes to inspire teachers to use technology in the classroom and students to pursue math and science. During the zero gravity experience, teachers completed experiments that they had started in class with their students. (To demonstrate mass and acceleration they tossed M&M’s and each other.) They videotaped their experiences for later use in classroom curriculum.

NPR’s technology reporter, Mario Armstrong, accompanied the educators on their “flight.” “Many of the teachers said they felt that this really would change the dynamic in the classroom,” he said. Armstrong also imagines such an experience could help combat the country’s shortage of technology professionals by “inspiring kids to really pay attention to these career tracks in these industries, by making these industries seem more cool.”

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This might be a good place to start a discussion about why students are not taking math/science courses. I think this is an interesting idea, but doesn't hit the broad spectrum of teachers/students. Everyone probably has an idea ... why not share them ....

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