NASA space academy for kids
By Lailani Upham
academy consultant Lori Lambert and a group of students show excitement
and stand in awe as one the paper rockets shoots off on a perfect high
velocity launch. (Lailani Upham photo)
Space academy consultant Lori
Lambert and a group of students show excitement and stand in awe as one
the paper rockets shoots off on a perfect high velocity launch.
(Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — Kids designing rockets for missions to fly
to Mars, Neptune,
around space and beyond; to finding a black hole, were some of the
ideas students came up with this past Saturday morning at Salish
Kootenai College at a one-day workshop for middle school and high
school students in the local area.
The Saturday NASA Space Academy at SKC campus was
through a NASA grant based out of the University of Idaho. “The focus
is to get kids excited about science and seeing how NASA and science
applies to Native Games,” explained Dr. Lori Lambert, SKC professor of
Medical Ecology and Anthropology and space camp consultant.
of flopping in front of a television watching cartoons with a bowl of
“Cocoa Puffs” on a chilly and damp Saturday morning kids from around
the Flathead reservation launched their own hand-made advanced
high-powered paper rockets outside the Late Louie Caye building.
Approximately 25 students ranging from fifth grade
school were selected for the NASA one-day program to experience and get
excited about science-centered careers put on by Lambert and SKC
faculty Space Academy coordinator Frank Finley.
space academy was part of the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, which
was one of four states chosen to participate in NASA’s Summer of
Innovation (SOI) program. The ISGC’s proposal, Idaho, Montana and Utah
– Summer of Innovation: NASA Education and STEM Programs for
underrepresented populations, was awarded the full grant of $868,284
this year for three years.
to R) James Farmer, Jr., Coby Debruin and Jerome Finley demonstrate to
each other tossing imaginary atlatls before heading outside to do the
real thing. (Lailani Upham photo)
Salish Kootenai College was host location this
past summer for the
SOI three-day experience geared to equip teachers with tools and help
enhance their STEM curricula in the classrooms. Finley and Lambert ran
the teacher space camp this past July. “Teachers learned the NASA space
curriculum and brought the ideas to their classrooms. Teachers from
Wyoming, Missoula, and Lake County participated as well as students in
the education Department at SKC,” Lambert said.
traveled to a total of 13 locations on the tribal reservations and in
areas with high Latino student populations throughout Idaho, Montana
and Utah this past summer.
This past weekend was a brief
activity that was part of the student portion of the program to conduct
experiments and participate in hands-on activities based on NASA
themes. The team also brought a day of hands-on activities for
approximately 20 students at Two Eagle River School on Tuesday.
had the opportunity to build model rockets and learn about aeronautics.
Another station taught by Finley allowed the students to design and
learn the effects and frequencies of the traditional and ancient atlatl
spear. The atlatl is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater
velocity in dart-throwing, and includes a bearing surface that allows
the user to temporarily store energy during the throw.
Later in the afternoon students participated in
Lacrosse taught by SKC liberal arts faculty Alex Alviar. Lacrosse has
its origins in a tribal game played by all eastern Woodlands Native
Americans and by some Plains Indians tribes.
The space academy hopes is to help young native
an interest from a native perspective and gain an appreciation for
topics of math, chemistry, physics, electronics, computer science,
geology, earth science, biology and mechanics. This has been a first
attempt through ISGC to reach Flathead reservation-wide school age
students to boost excitement for space careers. Lambert said she hopes
this will be a beginning of many more.