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A history lesson on space travel

Our academic as well as sporting Term 3 has set off at a cracking pace.  Students are very pleased that the Granite Belt soccer competitions are commencing this week.  They were pleased to bring out the soccer balls at last and start polishing their soccer skills. 

On the academic front, in science this Term we are studying the key features of our solar system.  The focus is on Earth’s moon and the scientific developments from space exploration that have affected people's lives.  We will be mixing science and history (interesting to ponder that something that occurred in one’s own lifetime is now referred to as “history”) as this month the 16th July was the day 50 years ago that Apollo 11 with Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on board blasted off, heading for the moon.  Neil Armstrong saw it this way “It was our pleasure to participate in one great adventure.”  Our students will pose scientific questions, plan and conduct investigations and experiments to answer questions and solve problems. They will decide on which variables to change and which to measure to conduct fair tests.  

The first experiment was to do with the lunar landscape which they approximated using flour (many kilograms), hundreds and thousands sprinkles and cocoa powder.  They then used different sized balls moulded out of soft dough as “impactors”.  In real life on the real moon these impactors would be asteroids.  The impactors were dropped from a standard height, making craters and impact rays on the “moon” surface.  The students then had to measure the dimensions of impact craters and impact rays.  Prior to the experiment, students predicted what they thought would happen, and checked these predictions afterwards.  In best “Mythbusters” style, students put all of the “impactors” together and all the “moon” surface, and upsized the experiment after all other tests had been completed.  The impact rays measured metres from that colossal impact!

Our students are very engaged with science and scientific methods.

Another important investigation will be identifying and explaining some examples of space technology that has found a use in daily life.  One example is the infra-red thermometer, used to measure the temperature of stars and planets.  In everyday use, the infra-red ear thermometer measures energy emitted from a person’s eardrum to measure their temperature in a few seconds.

Just one thing of many that space research has done for us!