2013-06-13 / Community

Laker JH experiment chosen for space flight


Laker Junior High will be represented in space! A student-designed spaceflight experiment has been selected to be launched to ISS this fall as part of the SSEP program. The team, led by science teacher Diana Schulz, includes Chandler Furness, Sarah and Hannah Hammond, Chelsey Katshor, Halle Keim and Nicholas Wolschlager. In their experiment, the junior high team members are examining whether they can get bones to stop losing calcium in space. Laker Junior High will be represented in space! A student-designed spaceflight experiment has been selected to be launched to ISS this fall as part of the SSEP program. The team, led by science teacher Diana Schulz, includes Chandler Furness, Sarah and Hannah Hammond, Chelsey Katshor, Halle Keim and Nicholas Wolschlager. In their experiment, the junior high team members are examining whether they can get bones to stop losing calcium in space. LAKER - For a group of enthusiastic Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Junior High students, the sky is no longer the limit when it comes to potential.

The students’ Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) experiment – “The Effect of Microgravity on Calcium Absorption by Bones” – has been selected by a national panel of professional scientists, engineers and educators to be launched into space this fall. The experiment will travel from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 Dragon vehicle.

Laker Junior High science teacher Diana Schulz and the student team, which includes Chandler Furness, Sarah Hammond, Chelsey Katshor, Halle Keim, Hannah Hammond and Nicholas Wolschlager, is thrilled to have its experiment chosen. When the students heard the announcement, they couldn’t believe their ears.

“This is so exciting because we are the first and only Laker team to go into space,” Sarah said.

Her twin sister, Hannah, agreed.

“(We feel) a great sense of achievement,” she said.

While the students are still in junior high, they’re already thinking about how this will affect their future opportunities.

“This will be a great experience to put on our resumes, especially for those of us who are going into science or education,” Halle said.

Team members also realize their experiment will help others.

“We are very excited to help astronauts of the future,” Nick noted.

In their experiment, the junior high team members are examining whether they can get bones to stop losing calcium in space. Through research, the team discovered astronauts lose anywhere from 15- 30 percent of their bone density in space.

When watching this group of junior high students prepare for a short video in which each one commented about having the team’s experiment chosen, one can’t help but notice how thorough and organized the group is.

The team members energetically discussed every last detail about what they would say and how they would say it before allowing themselves to be captured on video. Schulz stood back and smiled as she watched them. She’s convinced the team’s unshakeable commitment to pay attention to every aspect of the experiment – including the multi-page, in-depth proposal that went with it – is what led to the team’s success.

“They were a wonderful group who worked diligently and well with each other - a very gifted and talented group of students,” Schulz said.

According to Kathy Dickens, Laker Elementary Principal and SSEP community program co-director, the junior high team likely will present its experiment during the prestigious National SSEP Conference at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. This conference is attended by nationally recognized scientists and engineers.

The Laker Junior High team was one of three teams from Huron County to have their SSEP proposed experiments reviewed by the national panel. The other two teams were from Laker High School and North Huron High School.

SSEP is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). Huron County is one of only 11 communities nationwide to participate in this SSEP mission. All Huron County schools were invited to participate. A total of 311 students in grades 5-11 were involved in experiment design and proposal writing and 69 proposals were submitted from student teams. Five of those proposals made it to the final round of the Step 1 Review Board, and three of them progressed to the national level review.

Several Thumb-area businesses provided grants totaling $10,500 so that Huron County schools could get involved in SSEP. The businesses included the Cooperative Elevator Co., Dow AgroSciences Harbor Beach Operations, Huron Tool & Engineering, Harbor Beach Community Hospital and Huron Medical Center, along with the Huron Intermediate School District.

SSEP (http://ssep.ncesse.org) is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; http://ncesse.org) in partnership with Nanoracks, LLC. This onorbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. experiment – including the multipage, in-depth proposal that went with it – is what led to the team’s success.

“They were a wonderful group who worked diligently and well with each other - a very gifted and talented group of students,” Schulz said.

According to Kathy Dickens, Laker Elementary Principal and SSEP community program co-director, the junior high team likely will present its experiment during the prestigious National SSEP Conference at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. This conference is attended by nationally recognized scientists and engineers.

The Laker Junior High team was one of three teams from Huron County to have their SSEP proposed experiments reviewed by the national panel. The other two teams were from Laker High School and North Huron High School.

SSEP is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). Huron County is one of only 11 communities nationwide to participate in this SSEP mission. All Huron County schools were invited to participate. A total of 311 students in grades 5-11 were involved in experiment design and proposal writing and 69 proposals were submitted from student teams. Five of those proposals made it to the final round of the Step 1 Review Board, and three of them progressed to the national level review.

Several Thumb-area businesses provided grants totaling $10,500 so that Huron County schools could get involved in SSEP. The businesses included the Cooperative Elevator Co., Dow AgroSciences Harbor Beach Operations, Huron Tool & Engineering, Harbor Beach Community Hospital and Huron Medical Center, along with the Huron Intermediate School District.

SSEP (http://ssep.ncesse.org) is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; http://ncesse.org) in partnership with Nanoracks, LLC. This on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

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