Grade 5 studies NASA’s Perseverance Rover
You could have heard a pin drop as the Grade 5 students awaited the 7 minutes necessary for NASA’s Perseverance Rover to enter Mars’ atmosphere and descend to its surface on February 18th, after approximately seven months in flight. Echoing the cheer of the crew at NASA headquarters, the students experienced first-hand the core motivations which push exploration forward… the never-ending desire and curiosity to know more about our world and beyond.
As the students await news of signs of ancient life and rock and regolith samples from the Red Planet, they have been doing some exploring of their own, carrying out research about conditions on the fourth planet from the sun, and examining raw images of Mars sent to Earth from the Rover. Like the engineers at NASA, they’ve designed and built a helicopter, like the model attached to the Rover, that is deployed to places the Rover can’t reach. More importantly, the students have worked in teams to adjust the performance of their first helicopter model, calibrating the rotor blades and the angles of incidence formed between the rotor and its body. Students on distance learning contributed to the process, sharing their observations and hypotheses, and demonstrating their constructions.
Needless to say, NASA’s ground-breaking mission in outer space has given both students and teachers lots to wonder about here on Earth, and its findings could very likely change our understanding of the universe. The budding aerospace engineers are deep in inquiry, asking some pretty tough questions. As adults, we don’t always have the answers, but embracing the curiosity together with our students sets us on the quest together, discovering more each day about our universe. In their enthusiasm, the students are already looking forward to a day when the “I” in UIS doesn’t just stand for “international”, but includes “interplanetary” students as well!
Head of Elementary School and Grade 5 Teacher