Feb 15th, 2009 by Mr. Higgins
On Friday, groups of teachers, administrators, and other interested parties were invited to attend a day long teacher workshop at NASA Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, OH. For those who are not aware, Plum Brook is a testing facility for NASA parts and is famous for having the world’s largest vacuum chamber. Here is my amateur video showing this giant vacuum chamber can be seen here:
Here is a more professional shot: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1281.html
Cool Fact: The door to seal off this chamber weights 5 million pounds.
We spent a couple of hours taking a tour of the facility and another couple of hours discussing how we can impact education in the area with other educational folk and engineers. Here are some of the conclusions we reached to get students involved.
- We need to have some sort of local competition where the students are given a challenge “handed down to them by NASA” to get them involved in creation, teamwork, analysis, and all of the other concepts involved in engineering.
- There needs to be some day long or week long camps during the summer. Many of the camps offered at other facilities within hours are longer terms like eight or ten weeks long.
- More teacher specialty days where Plum Brook Station employees show off some experiments and perhaps explain the mathematics, science, and technology into a little further depth to help teachers bring some information to the classroom. As a mathematics and computer science teacher, I would love to see some equations and programming code. If students were able to analyze data, wouldn’t that be awesome?
- Utilize the many other endeavors of this facility, especially the ecological projects as potential projects or specialty student days.
Many people who live in the area have no idea of how large this facility really is…