| The navigation team charted the United States.
The probe team built probes to send out in search of comets.
"It's cool, it's fun," 10-year-old Caleb Hardy said as he fashioned
a multicolored probe out of a K'Nex building kit. "We did a lot
of training to get ready for this."
Kothari has waited a long time to find the right school in which
to pull together such an ambitious project.
"I've been teaching 20 years, but I've never found a team of teachers
strong enough to help me do it until now," she said, giving credit
to team-teacher Nidia Lias-Ramero, librarian Debbie Crow and lab
technician Gemma Garcia.
This is Kothari's first year at Frank School. Before coming to
Guadalupe, she taught in Chicago, London, India, and Hawaii.
To get ready for the mission, the students spent several months
learning about space travel, planets, comets and astronaut training.
| "We even learned how to do the hydroponics
and experiments in the classroom -- watered-down versions of the stations
done in the shuttle," Kothari said.
She even created problems on the mission. At one point, an assistant
sneaked to the back of the room and poured water on dry ice to generate
smoke. The students scrambled to reach mission control to resolve
At the end of the mission as the shuttle touched down and patriotic
music started, the students applauded.
"It was almost as if they actually experienced this," Kothari
said. "Isn't that neat?"
Shelby Hobart, science/technology coordinator for the Tempe Elementary
District gave every student a temporary e-mail account so they could
communicate with each other.
He also linked the project to the school's broadcast system so
other classrooms could watch the mission unfold.
"I think this is the first time we've done something in the district
to this degree of technology," Hobart said.
"This really brings science education to the students."