NASA Astronaut Living On Space Station Will Hold Live Q&A With Kindergarten, Elementary Students


In a bid to expand the awareness of space science and also address the curiosity of school students and young minds on space affairs, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, aboard the International Space Station, will be interacting with students of Nantucket New School in Massachusetts at 10:25 a.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 15.

The Earth-to-space call for 20 minutes will be broadcasted live on NASA Television and the agency's website. During the session, the Expedition 50 Commander will answer the questions of students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Anticipating the event, the school had been expanding their space curriculum to cover NASA missions, International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and New Horizons mission.

Kimbrough who moved to the ISS on Oct. 19 will be home in February 2017.

Flagship Of NASA Office Of Education

According to NASA, the interaction is part of the NASA Office of Education's programs to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in the United States.

By linking students directly to astronauts the STEM on Station program is aiming to provide authentic, live experiences of space exploration and introduce scientific components of space travel while exposing the opportunities in space.

Focus On Skill Development

In yet another program, NASA and 4-H teamed up to support skill development among students to make them succeed in life and career.

Some of the main qualities that make an astronaut are teamwork, resilience, self-awareness, and perseverance. To some extent, these are the skills required for life's success too.

Expeditionary Skills for Life program has developed a content built around these skills. The 4-H program is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The collaborative program will be launched by Peggy Whitson, a NASA astronaut currently with International Space Station and former 4-H alumni with a video highlighting her association with 4-H.

"If anything shows students how important developing life skills can be, it's astronauts sharing their experiences, learning to work with many diverse people in stressful situations," said Donald James, associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education.

During the training, they will focus on different areas each month such as self-care, team care, cultural competency, leadership, followership, and teamwork.

HUNCH Program In Schools

Meanwhile, NASA floated a program for high schools to train students in hardware production meant for space missions.

Platt Technical High School in Milford students expressed their pride in working for the NASA program.

Many students, especially young women said they are feeling excited.

"It's a lot more males than girls but we're starting to take up and step our way in there so it's nice," said Jessica Liscinsky, a Platt senior.

The space agency's HUNCH program, short for High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware, was taken to Platt after department head David Tuttle talked to NASA.

"It's a perfect hands-on, real world example of what it's like to work in this industry and especially in Connecticut," said Tuttle.

The assignments include making storage lockers and pin kits used onboard the International Space Station.

During the program, NASA employees will teach, and certify students to become product inspectors with materials to build the products being shipped to the schools.

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