Students Mark Anniversary Of Challenger Disaster With Lessons On Space

By Bill Shields, WBZ-TV

FRAMINGHAM (CBS) — It was 25 years ago that the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff killing all seven astronauts on board, including America’s first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe of Framingham.

But McAuliffe’s legacy lives on at her alma mater, Framingham State University, where Friday several dozen middle school students were immersed in the McAuliffe Center, a very realistic mock-up of a futuristic space station on Mars.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports.

“This is a mirror image of Christa,” says the Center’s director, Mary Lipscomb, who graduated from FSU with Christa. “She was all about kids and teaching. She would love this.”

The kids from Ashland loved it. In one room, they were controlling a would-be space station on Mars, the other room looked like a space ship which on this day was leaving Mars for the six-month trip back to earth.

“I am having so much fun, and learning so much,” says sixth grader Rebecca Cotmayer, “and yea, I want to go to Mars some day.”

More from Bill Shields
  • Haileigh

    Tim, I am always etixced to have someone respond to my blog. I wrote this blog in response to a school visit where I saw consistent evidence that the teachers understood mutual respect and directly taught students the skills needed for mutual respect to occur. I have listed several connections from my blog to mutual respect and the work of Dr. Payne. I hope you will find it helpful.Respect in middle class is linked to a role such as teacher, principal, etc. A teacher applying Dr. Payne’s work recognizes that students may bring a different understanding of respect into the classroom. Respect can mean a person, no matter what role he or she has, must earn respect. The school I visited provided multiple examples of teachers providing direct instruction to build mutual respect.•Teachers consistently modeled and taught the adult voice to provide students with the appropriate voice to develop healthy communication skills and the ability to problem solve.*Problem solving only happens in the adult voice. See, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Voices research by Daniel Bern.*Students are often considered disrespectful when using the wrong tone of voice. In this example, the teachers teach the appropriate tone.•The teachers used mental models to teach students. Mental models help move students from the concrete to the abstract. Even in kindergarten, schools often begin teaching at the abstract level. Students with no early learning experience must begin at the concrete level and move to abstract. Mental models bridge the gap between concrete and abstract, as well as accelerating learning. Teachers that acknowledge the student’s’ needs to begin learning at the concrete level and use mental models to move students to the abstract are respectful of student learning needs instead of expecting students to have skills that have not been taught. *Exercise movement to teach students to count by twos, hand movement with five fingers up to count by fives, movement, rap song, etc.•Posting the definition of the registers of language both casual and formal register (in the classroom) and directly teaching students the difference between the registers and giving students the opportunity to translate between casual and formal register provides students with the skills needed to be successful in school where formal register is the norm in both speaking and writing. Without this skill students often get in trouble for speaking in casual register which is often the norm for speech at home. Mutual respect does not expect a student to have a skill that has not been taught at school.Respectfully,Judy Weber

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