- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) - An educational program is allowing students at St. John’s School in Wahpeton to test scientific theories by sending class projects out of this world.

“Cubes in Space” is a collaboration between NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, the Wahpeton Daily News (https://bit.ly/1EBr61l ) reported.

The learning program offers global design competitions for students between the ages of 11 and 18 to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM-based experiments, to be launched into space.

Both students and educators worked with activities for the design and development of an experimental payload to be integrated into a small cube.

“It included brainstorming ideas for what would be a good experiment in space and what would be measurable,” said Lori Matejcek, a St. John’s teacher. “We did a lot of the scientific method work with this.”

Throughout the experience, students developed skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

A total of 488 educators and thousands of students from 22 countries participated in the experiments, according to a press release from the program, and competed for one of 80 cubes for the rocket.

“I give them a lot of credit,” Matejcek said about her students. “They said ‘let’s give this a try’ and ran with it. It was really awesome that both of them were accepted.”

At St. John’s, the two cubes that will be sent to space are two different experiments.

The first will test whether seeds that go to space will grow faster or slower and observe the overall germination.

The second has magnets inside and tests if there will be any loss of magnetism in space.

The experiments will be launched by rocket in June from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

“We will come back over the summer,” Matejcek said. “After the cubes are returned to the class from space, we will have to check the magnetism and plant thesis and report back how it went to the program officials.”

Matejcek said her students began working on the project in January. She said the experiments have been incorporated into the class science lessons and it has been a good tool in teaching the STEM curriculum, giving her students a taste of what education can become.

“It’s definitely the wave of the future in education,” Matejcek said about STEM education.

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Information from: Wahpeton Daily News, https://www.wahpetondailynews.com


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