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MHS Students Awarded Direct Line to Astronauts in Space

Monrovia High School students will be able to teleconference with astronauts on the International Space Station next year after NASA selected the school for its coveted education downlink program.

science teacher Pamela Thompson describes herself as a "space geek," so she was understandably thrilled when she learned last week that her students will soon be talking directly to astronauts.

Thompson applied and was awarded a NASA In-Flight Education Downlink, a program that allows select schools throughout the country to link up directly to astronauts for a video conference as they orbit the Earth on the International Space Station. Out of 42 schools that applied for the opportunity, just six were chosen.

"They loved our proposal," Thompson said. "We're really, really, super excited about it because it's a really special thing."

The downlink will be hosted at the high school but elementary and middle school students will be invited to watch and submit questions as well. The event will also be broadcast to other Monrovia schools.

"It's going to involve our whole school district," Thompson said.

Thompson said she will compile a list of 20 student questions for the 20 minute downlink session.

The downlink is scheduled for March 8. In the meantime, MHS students in Thompson's class will be learning about how the downlink technology works.

"They'll go through a whole series of NASA activities," Thompson said.

J. Knight September 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Congratulations MHS! Fantastic news. All your hard work paid off.
Pamela Thompson September 04, 2012 at 04:26 PM
We have a great team of teachers and administrators working together to pull this off, I am just the biggest cheerleader :-0!!! Thanks to; Trinity Wedgeworth, Tom Reale, Kristin Ford, Darvin Jackson, Debbi Collins, Jason Buchanan, and Julie Vitale!!
Gayle M. Montgomery September 04, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Thank you, Ms. Thompson, for arranging this for the kids of Monrovia.
vivian l.martinez September 05, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Awesome way to go MHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait til March 8th!!!!!!!!
Gayle M. Montgomery September 06, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Ms. Thompson, I've been thinking about this since yesterday since astronomy (aka space exploration) is my all-time favorite subject. I wanted to offer you a couple of tools. First, if you need funding for any projects for your class, don't overlook posting something on DonorsChoose.org, and we will help spread the word. See this post (we've helped a couple of teachers in lower grades). This would be a veritably easy way to get things you may need for your classroom and projects. http://monrovia.patch.com/blog_posts/donorschoose-an-easy-way-to-donate-to-local-schools
Gayle M. Montgomery September 06, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Secondly, it dawns on me that I've been pinning on Pinterest a number of boards that may be of value to you and your classes. There may be images there that will supplement the learning experience. In addition, there might be merit in having the kids pin boards dedicated to these topics as a way of sparking their interest and learning something in the process. They are out there, readily available, and free for the kids to use if they have online access. Clicking once on a thumbnail takes you to a larger image, and a second click frequently takes you to the original source article (though not always). I wrote of pinning here http://monrovia.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-how-pinteresting-are-you
Gayle M. Montgomery September 06, 2012 at 05:11 PM
So here are the 5 boards I have dedicated to science. You're welcome to share them with the students if you believe there is merit, and they are frequently updated so there may be merit in checking back. I'm offering this to help our kids further their interest in the sciences. http://pinterest.com/indigo1123/pining-oer-the-planets/ http://pinterest.com/indigo1123/nibbling-on-a-nebula/ http://pinterest.com/indigo1123/mind-blowing-science/ http://pinterest.com/indigo1123/beautiful-ms-aurora/ http://pinterest.com/indigo1123/mother-nature-s-a-brat/ Further, I have found great info from the NASA site but also from SpaceWeather and SpaceRef, the links for which in case you are unfamiliar. SpaceWeather frequently has images of the Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). http://spaceweather.com/ http://spaceref.com/ Hope this helps.
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Gayle M. Montgomery September 12, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Ms. Thompson, I came across this in something from NASA on September 4. Students 18 and under have the opportunity to name an asteroid. Details can be found here. http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=38409 "The competition is open to students under age 18 from anywhere in the world. Each contestant can submit one name, up to 16 characters long. Entries must include a short explanation and rationale for the name. Submissions must be made by an adult on behalf of the student. The contest deadline is Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. The contest is a partnership with The Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif.; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington; and the University of Arizona in Tucson. A panel will review proposed asteroid names. First prize will be awarded to the student who recommends a name that is approved by the International Astronomical Union Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature."

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