Erik McFarland is an 8th grade science teacher and recently took his students on the trip of a lifetime with Skype in the Classroom. Here is his story:
I had the wonderful opportunity to do research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California as part of a program that gave teachers scientific research experience. I have never learned more or met so many fascinating people in such a short period of time. I wanted to give my students a taste of that experience – of what being a scientist is really like.
I teach 8th grade science at Tolt Middle School in Carnation, WA. We couldn’t take a field trip to California, but we could use Skype, and I was able to use it to give students an experience that wouldn’t have been possible even with an in-person visit. As part of our astronomy studies, 207 8th graders were able to tour and talk to three scientists living in a simulated Martain habitat at the University of North Dakota. The scientists were 13 days into their 30 day stay and the students were curious to know how they were holding up psychologically. They also able to ask many questions about traveling to, and living on, Mars.