To get a feel for what we strive to do every day at the Outreach office, please read the following story:
We were working with 28 fifth graders from Loma Linda Elementary. During our rocket fuel experiment, students were asked to hypothesize which "fuel" combination would work most efficiently. I worked with a group of 4 girls. One of the girls noted that she thought the final test they did went the highest because their rocket had fallen off the canister, so they launched just the canister. She said she thought that the missing rocket made the canister lighter, so that was one reason it went higher. I assured her that she was right and congratulated her on noting the information in her data report. She got very quiet, as if she were considering something, and then looked at me and said very seriously, "I didn't know my brain worked." She broke into a huge grin - very pleased with herself and her experiments.
At Space Grant, we work with K-12 kids in hopes of encouraging them to consider science and engineering as a possible future. It was clear to me after yesterday that we are doing something more than that. For some, we are encouraging them to simply see themselves as thinkers and learners.
-Bernadette Garcia, COSGC Associate Director