Take a virtual field trip
Our Distance Learning Program is a live video conferencing technology that is new at Roper Mountain Science Center located in Greenville, South Carolina. Its purpose is to offer professional development for teachers in the state. To accomplish this goal we produced programs that help teachers integrate standards based concepts with an inquiry hands-on approach. The facilitators wanted to create a program that was not the usual "talking head" video conference and seamlessly involved the remote sites as if they were in the same room. They also wanted to tap into the full potential of the technology including the use of resources such as computer applications i.e. PowerPoint, and Smartboard, and a variety of video sources such as document cameras, Internet resources, and virtual field trips. Because the course was on Earth science with an emphasis on space and astronomy, we asked NASA for help in our virtual field trips. NASA at Langley and JPL provided speakers to help reinforce math and science using current "real world" space missions. Garrison Hall, a member of the NASA Solar System Educator's Program (SSEP) for Deep Impact organized and facilitated an educator training on the mission, its objectives and educational activities and co-trained with Maura Rountree-Brown, a member of the Deep Impact outreach team. Maura Rountree-Brown was a wonderful resource on the Deep Impact space mission giving us a sense of being a part of this once in a lifetime event. She demonstrated classroom activities as well as giving an in-depth tour of the Deep Impact Website. The teachers were able to interact by asking questions and applying the new learning to their own experiences and to the students they taught. The NASA connection has excited our South Carolina teachers who are spreading that enthusiasm to their students.
Dr. Shirley Smith, Program Director
Rex Smith, Physical Science Curator
Garrison Hall, Solar System Educator Program for Deep Impact