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Monday, March 9, 2015

Get Real! Check out the Science happening Right Now!

This week your students can become a part of history!  They can become part of a team made up of artists, social media, NASA officials, and more to help celebrate the launch of the Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) mission this week.  What’s that, you say?  The MMS Mission is a set of 4 satellites that will be launched this week to study magnetic reconnections in the magnetosphere?  Still not clear?  These four satellites are going into space to study the explosions that cause “space weather.”  These explosions of energy can wreak havoc with our electrical systems, astronauts, other expensive satellites and our everyday tv, radio and phone transmissions. 

The first challenge
A couple of years ago, I was given the opportunity to help develop lessons around a new NASA Mission, The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) a mssion that was not even going to launch for a couple of years.  Our mission (and we chose to accept it) was to design a lesson that would teach kids around the world what the mission was all about and why it was important AND we had to include a social media component.  We decided to design a truly authentic mission and turn that challenge around to our students.  The MMS Challenge was born. Students from all over participated and shared their videos, artwork, models and activities that would teach other children about the MMS Mission.  Check out what students have done to meet the challenge.

A new challenge
Fast forward to today….the mission is launching this week and we are once again asking students to become an integral part of the team.  What better way to demonstrate in a very real way, the wide variety of careers involved in such an undertaking than to talk to some of the people that are directly involved.  We would love to have your students meet our team, learn about the mission and share through social media.  Our team includes Father of Digital Art Laurence Gartel, NASA MMS Education Outreach TEAM, NASA MMS Social Media Team, students and teachers. 
Introduction to the mission
There are a number of great short videos that you can use to introduce your students to the mission.

More Resources
Another way to get your students acquainted with the purpose of the mission is to use the SCAN tool at TregoED to learn and discuss why the mission is important from different points of view.  SCAN is a free, private online discussion tool.  Teachers should register at and set up the SCAN lesson, Space Exploration and You: SCAN the NASA MMS Mission to get a unique URL for their class discussion.  Each step of the SCAN critical thinking strategy will allow students to See the important issues, clarify them, Assess what is important and Name next steps.  Students discuss the issues from the point of view of an astronaut, student, electric company owner, and satellite company owner to determine how the MMS mission could have an impact on their daily lives. An engaging way to get them talking about the mission in a real time online classroom. 

Find lesson plans and activities that your students can do to learn about the mission. 
Make the math-science connections by mapping out the size of one of the satellites in your classroom with this activity.

Get them involved
Encourage your students to participate as a journalist, scientist, artist or engineer and share their knowledge of the launch through social media.
Details coming soon (email me at if you want me to email you the details) on how you can join a student led team, on the afternoon of March 11 or 12. Meet the Father of Digital Art Laurence Gartel, NASA MMS Education Outreach Team, NASA MMS Social Media Team, and other NASA MMS Officials and follow and post on our social media channels (#magrecon):