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Return to the Stratosphere

Activity 3: Space Poetry

The Universe is full of beauty and mystery which inspires those who fly in the stratosphere or gaze up from the earth to study it. But with our telescopes and our spacecraft we can now see much further, to the mysterious moons of Jupiter, the veiled center of our own Galaxy, and beyond. One way to bring closure to your students' experiences is to ask them to express their feelings about the things they've seen, in poetry or prose. Throughout this Guide, you will find creative writing, by poets or scientists. Gerard Manley Hopkins tries to find just the right word to describe a star (page 56). A member of the KAO crew strives to describe what it's like to be up there, studying the stars in a noisy plane (page 18). Share some of those works with your students, to stimulate their responses...and then have them "take off" on their own.

Review the program tapes and have students look into the future and think about what they might feel if they were able to travel through space, and see close-up some of the things we now see only from afar.

Activity 4: The Best Learning Experience is Teaching Others


To help students consolidate what they've learned by assuming the role of teachers, and inviting students from different grades, or parents or other members of the community, to their classroom.

Learning is constructing shared knowledge. It is a process of working together to find meaning in our world. One way we build understanding is through teaching others. Students can summarize what they've learned by creating a set of activity stations around the classroom or school gymnasium. (See on-line for how Pat Haddon set up a successful "Antarctic Expo.")

  • Have students demonstrate some of the hands-on activities you may have first done with them, such as analyzing a spectrum, finding stars using Right Ascension and Declination, etc., or building a model KAO telescope.
  • Invite participants to experiment with the heat-sensitive paper or spectrum glasses.
  • Stage a "talk show" with students taking on the role of astronomers and other researchers, using the on-line Field Journals, Biographies and Researcher Q&A for information
  • Challenge parents (or another class or grade level) to participate in a Quiz Show whose questions are based on the new information encountered during Live from the Stratosphere.
  • Set up demonstrations using computers and modems for other teachers, school administrators, parents or local journalists, showing what activities are available over the Internet, and what your students actually did.
  • Have panel presentations on the KAO, with students as various members of the research team, explaining their individual responsibilities, and how they work together
  • Show segments of the original videotapes with new student narration.

These presentations can be taped and shared with other students, parents or your community. Invite members of your school board, local newspaper, community access cable channel or broadcast news reporters, as they are often unaware of the many positive things that take place in schools.

Sharing your work with the Passport to Knowledge Team

We are eager to see the work inspired by Live from the Stratosphere. We will be providing space on-line for student work. Please send us pictures of students' creations, samples of student writing or tapes of student productions. We are looking for future classrooms to feature in Passport to Knowledge. The Fargo, North Dakota school appeared in LFS because Tammy Cummings from Prairie Public Television made just such a phone call!

Another reason to submit your students' work is that it could be featured in multimedia productions that might be created to share information about astronomy and science education with other students and teachers. If we wish to use any of your students' work, we'll contact you for permission and provide you with a complimentary copy of any materials that eventuate.

Please send student work to:

Passport to Knowledge, P.O. Box 1502, Summit, NJ, 07902-1502

(Include a pre-stamped and self-addressed envelope if you want the materials returned.)



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