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From Dan Loewen
Spaceward Bound Mojave 2008

Since Spaceward bound Mojave 2007, our science programs at the Fresno county Office of Education Court and Community Schools have developed and strengthened. One of our areas of focus is providing field experience and authentic science opportunities for the at-risk students we serve. Upon return from the Mojave in 2007, we worked with our first group of students in the yard of the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus teaching students how to collect plant specimens and conduct soil transects. Our students’ first real field experience took place at a location along the San Joaquin River ( ). This experience took the students’ biology and geology knowledge to a higher level and demonstrated the tremendous benefits of this type of experience for students and staff.

Last school year was very exciting. Not only did we take more of our students to Scout Island for biology and geology experiences, Fresno County Office of Education Court Schools applied for a microgravity opportunity aboard NASA’s C9. This opportunity and resultant research conducted by our students led to the Court Schools’ first entrance into the Central California’s Math and Science Fair. Their efforts produced an amazing showing that lead to an honourable mention.

“Swinging for the Fence”

“The Future of Plants is up in the Air”

teachers prior to flight
Teachers Mark Ybarra, Ted Munguia, Daniel Loewen, Mike Parker, and NASA Engineer Tim Pelischek during TRR prior to flight.

Daniel Loewen and Tim Pelischek conducting plant growth chamber nutrient delivery test under lunar gravity. The nutrient delivery systems, testing chamber and testing protocol was developed by FCOE court school students
NASA Image

Continued joint collaboration with Spaceward bound researchers and teachers have been very important in creating successful science and math experiences for our students. Since the 2007 Mojave expedition, I have had the opportunity to present on Spaceward bound research and curricular connections at the Space Explores Educators Conference in Houston Texas. ( ). Renowned cave researcher J Judson Wynne ( ) and Spaceward bound and / Network of Educator Astronaut Teacher (NEAT) Dan Wray ( ) have provided excellent experience, expertise, and guidance when developing curriculum and presentations. The photographs below were taken during a Mojave expedition lead by Judson Wynne in 2009

Dan Loewen ascending out of the 40 foot drop of Drop Cave
Dan Loewen, ascending out of the 40 foot drop of Drop Cave.
Credit: Doug Billings.

Dan and Jut chatting with Doug Billings about20 feet below
Dan and Jut chatting with Doug Billings about 20 feet below.
Credit: Glen Cushing.

Photo Reference:

The 2009-2010 school year is going to be a great year. Over 25 field experience trips are planned covering over 200 high-risk youth within Fresno County. These trips and experiences are only possible with the continued support and collaborative efforts of Spaceward Bound, the Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEAT), NASA personal, Fresno County Office of Education, and The Fresno County Probation Office. I am extremely grateful for all of their hard work and dedication and look forward to our continued projects.

JCO Rick Dominguez and SJCO Ed Avila on the Scout Island Grounds
JCO Rick Dominguez and SJCO Ed Avila on the Scout Island Grounds
JCO Rick Dominguez working with a student at the river’s edge
JCO Rick Dominguez working with a student at the riverís edge
team of officers from Juvenile Provation Department The collaborative effort between Fresno County Office of Education (FCOE) and the Fresno County Juvenile Probation Department is the key component that makes field science opportunities possible for the at-risk youth we teach. This team of officers makes sure all the logistics are taken care of often volunteering their time to make sure the event goes well. From right to left SJCO Ed Avila, SJCO John Jasper, SJCO Robert Martinez, JCO Rick Dominguez and TSA Daniel Loewen
 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: April 2007
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe