Powell Middle School sixth grade students learned about the effects of radiation Thursday and Friday thanks to a visit from NASA representative Megan Candelaria and University of Wyoming graduate …
Powell Middle School sixth grade students learned about the effects of radiation Thursday and Friday thanks to a visit from NASA representative Megan Candelaria and University of Wyoming graduate student Buck Scougale.
The visit came following the sixth graders completion of their Artemis 1 research projects. Artemis 1 was an unmanned flight conducted by NASA in early December 2022. Sixth grade science teacher Necole Hanks had reached out to the University of Wyoming’s science initiative about sending scientists to help her students learn about the effects of radiation related to space travel.
“We need to make sure that our kids understand that what happens here on Earth is different once we leave Earth’s atmosphere and so radiation is kind of a really huge thing for us to understand here,” Hanks said.
The NASA Space Grant Consortium is a program with the goal of aligning NASA priorities with priorities of the state and then allocating funding to that. Candelaria is the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium Science Kitchen Director.
“So we put money towards things like stem outreach, so K-12 activities to get students excited about STEM and then we also fund research projects in Wyoming that align with NASA priority, so we give money to faculty at the community colleges, and the University of Wyoming,” Candelaria said.
Candelaria and Scougale, who is receiving space grant funding for his research, conducted three activities with students. The first used M&M’s to visualize radioactive decay, the second showed radioactivity building in cloud chambers and the last activity had students build their own radioactive shields.
Scougale said that he and Calendaria talked about the significance of an experience to a child’s interests later on.
“One interaction when you’re young can really motivate you towards a specific direction of science or a real interest in astronomy or anything like that,” Scougale said.