Soaring into Space

Curriculum from our technology program was highlighted in the 2013 NASA Space Exploration Educators Conference!  The 90 minute presentation to other educators and NASA personnel was presented at Space Center Houston on February 9th. It was  entitled Moon, Mars & Mashed Potatoes and showcased three lessons from this years space-themed technology classes.  The first lesson involved using digital rulers to measure lunar crators and calculating their area.  The second touched on teaching graphing and equations on Microsoft Excel by entering navigation paths as data tables to determine the easiest route from point "A" to point "B."  The third lesson showed how to create 3D maps from pictures and satellite imagery using mashed potatoes to create a virtual potato "terrain".  The 2-D pictures were uploaded, processed and turned into a 3-D model that could be viewed from multiple angles.

A number of those that attended the presentation praised our ability to integrate technology with core subject matters in fun space-theme lessons.  One teacher even indicated she thought it was the best session she had been to in the ten years she had been coming to the conference!  We've already received requets to utilize our course materials with other schools/organizations and find out what other space-related lessons we would be willing to share. The evaluations that attendees filled out at the end of the presentation will be posted here when they become available to us next month.

You can check out an assortment of pictures, notes and even posts from our technology teacher, Mr. Chatfield by clicking on the links below.  And be sure to check out the newest compenent of our innovative technology program—ROBOTICS!

A Quick Note

I find it hard to believe sometimes, but February marks my five-year anniversary at St. Mary's.  I have to pinch myself when I think of how much has changed around here since then.  We've grown the tech program by leaps and bounds with iPads, another cart of computers, things like a wireless microscope, a weather station and even a robotics program! The one thing that hasn't changed has been the unwavering support from everyone in the St. Mary's family and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and thank everyone for that.  It meant a lot to me that everyone came together to fund this trip to NASA and allow me to realize some of my dreams.  As an educator and individual, I've been blessed that when I say I want to pursue something, everyone here has helped make sure it happens.  That kind of support is invaluable and has enabled all these cutting edge programs and wild plans to come to fruition!  I truly believe we have something very special here and I beam with pride when I talk about what we're doing.  The trip to Houston gave me a chance to share that excitement with other educators and get some ideas about additional ways we can push the boundaries to provide unparalleled programs that benefit everyone involved.  It was great to see and hear the reactions.  I do believe we stunned some people with what we're doing.  We may be a smaller school, but we think big and are able to turn those dreams and ideas into reality.  That's an accomplishment that we can all be proud of, because it wouldn't happen without the support structure that we have here. 

I've put together an assortment of pictures, videos and notes for anyone who is interested.  I have a ton of stuff yet to go through, so there will be more coming.  Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions you might have.

Thank you again—FOR EVERYTHING!

Bart Chatfield

PICTURES (Clicking will open a new window with a larger version of the picture)

Space Center Houston ExhibitAstronaut Suit for Shuttle MissionsRobonaut 2Robonaut Info SheetTurns lunar dirt into oxygen

Planetary Patrol BotSpidernautNew Lunar Habitat ModuleLunar Explorer Conceptual DrawingLunar Explorer Concept Vehicle



A slide from the Moon, Mars & Mashed Potatoes presentation.

Inside Mission Control Center for the International Space Station.  Watch the monitor on the left!

An incredible video put together from time lapse photographs aboard the ISS.