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TMCNet:  Corpus Christi pupils eager to rate teachers' low-grav flight performance

[February 16, 2013]

Corpus Christi pupils eager to rate teachers' low-grav flight performance

CHAMBERSBURG, Feb 15, 2013 (Public Opinion - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Corpus Christi fourth- and fifth-graders are eager to see how their teachers fare during an April flight aboard NASA's reduced gravity aircraft.


Teachers Kelly Hockensmith, Amanda Blough and Amy Fetterhoff will spend a week at Johnson Space Center in Houston to conduct a series of experiments.

Corpus Christi is a member of NASA Explorer Schools project.

Students are curious whether the trio can complete the flight without feeling a tinge of sickness.

"I know Miss Hockensmith will not do that well," said fourth-grader Jordan Pasi, which drew laughs from her classmates. "Mrs. Fetterhoff will do OK in the experiments, but I think Mrs. Blough will do the best." To achieve near-zero gravity and 2 Gs of force, the plane will perform a series of about 30 parabolas -- steep up-and-down maneuvers between 24,000 and 32,000 feet.

"I think they will do well with the experiments," said fourth-grader Jay Howley. "I think Miss Hockensmith and Mrs. Fetterhoff are not going to do well with the whole plane idea." Corpus Christi communicated via Skype with a NASA education specialist on Wednesday morning to discuss the impending trip and their latest experiment.

Students recently completed the experiment, Fluid Dynamics and Viscosity in Reduced Gravity. It provided observational data in the fluid properties of density, surface tension and cohesion, which will then be compared with data from the same experiment performed in flight.

Students dropped 1.5 ounce weights into 32 ounces of corn syrup, vegetable oil and apple juice stored in Nalgene bottles. Two more jars tested the mix of vegetable oil with water and the reaction of a cork with water.

"I wanted to see how the fluids reacted and the science behind them," said fourth-grader Camryn Yeager.

Students also pitched ideas for hand-held experiments for their teachers to complete in flight. Student ideas were based on a paper airplane, slime and a snow globe.

"It'll be cool to see what they do, what videos they take and what happens with the experiments," said fourth-grader Maria Richards.

Students also brainstormed similar ideas for students participating in a flight with High schools United with NASA Created Hardware (HUNCH). Those ideas centered on three everyday toys -- a wind-up toy, a Slinky and a bouncy ball.

NASA will need to provide the final OK for all smaller experiments.

"I think it's really cool that they get to do the experiments," said fourth-grader Aidan Coffey. "I'm really interested in what does happen in the experiments' results." ---- Brian Hall can be reached at 262-4811 and bkhall@publicopinionnews.com, or follow him on Twitter @bkhallpo.

___ (c)2013 the Public Opinion (Chambersburg, Pa.) Visit the Public Opinion (Chambersburg, Pa.) at www.publicopiniononline.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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