PROGRAM: Our Place in Space
Do rainy days just make you want to stay in bed all day? Usually that’s the way I feel, but on Wednesday I knew I was headed in to teach three of the third grade classes at Highcroft. And we were going to learn all about space!
On this particular day of teaching “Our Place in Space”, most student’s second favorite activity was making the sun clock. The students were really excited to tell me all about how it was possible to tell the time using shadows caused by the sun moving across the sky throughout the day. We stressed the fact that it is of course the Earth spinning on its axis, not the sun moving, the causes this to happen. Halfway through the day the sun came out, so hopefully everyone got to test the new clocks out after school.
Now everyone’s favorite part was definitely our last experiment. Unfortunately, the rain foiled any plans of going outside, but luckily we had an indoor plan! We had just spent the last hour as astronomers, but what if we were actually astronauts, training for a mission to space? What are some things we would need to do differently? The students at Highcroft got right to the point; one of the trickiest things would be the lack of gravity! Without gravity, there is no sensation of up or down, and things don’t get pulled down like they do on Earth. Astronauts spend a lot of time exercising in space because the lack of gravity can cause muscle and bone deterioration over time. They also have to be a bit more creative about normal, everyday actions, like using the bathroom. Everyone always squirms a little when the issue of using the bathroom comes up, but it is also really interesting, since it is something we all do (whether we like to talk about it or not!). On board the Space Station, the toilets use a bit of suction to make sure everything goes where it is supposed to, but what if our astronaut is out on a long space walk in his/her space suit? They actually wear a maximum absorbency garment, or essentially a diaper! This seems crazy and silly to think about, but it sure is practical! To think about just how absorbent diapers are, we finished up the program by growing and touching some diaper powder. Don’t worry though, we grew it using water!