PRINCETON, WV, JUNE 15, 2010:   From Oakvale, WV, students recently communicated with a Mission Control flight commander to guide operations at a simulated Lunar Outpost.  When the outpost caught fire, the students worked quickly to analyze real-time data to identify a cause and set to work on a solution.

The science-fiction activity, made possible through the RESA I Math/Science
Partnership, involved teams of eighth-grade students in Brandi Wilson’s science class and Amy Pierson’s math class.  Using laptops and web-cams, students communicated via Skype with Mission Control at the Wheeling Jesuit University Challenger Learning Center.

The May 10th simulation lasted only two and a half hours, but Pierson quickly added, “We’d spent a week preparing for it, doing simulations, calculating area and volume, and practicing box and whisker plots.”

“During the simulation, the individuals in the lunar module were supposedly doing burn testing, but a fire broke out.  The flight commander relayed real-time data to my student teams.  They had to analyze the data, do the calculations, try to determine the source of the fire and quickly communicate their recommendations.”
Oakvale students performing simulation

Pierson said the exercise required students to draw from both math and science knowledge.  “They had to know about carbon dioxide and oxygen levels,” she said, “because that is what we were measuring.”
The simulation was funded by an Education Alliance Classroom Mini-grant.  Pierson said she had assisted with a similar simulation at 4-H Camp last summer and wrote the grant to replicate the activity for her Oakvale students.