Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Frederick W. Hartnett Middle School, Blackstone, Massachusetts,

A telebridge contact via K6DUE with students at Frederick W. Hartnett Middle School, Blackstone, Massachusetts, USA was successful Tue 2016-01-05 17:42:06 UTC 81 deg. Astronaut Timothy Peake KG5BVI answered 14 questions for students and an audience of 600.
​Frederick W. Hartnett Middle School is a vibrant school in the central Massachusetts town of Blackstone, adjacent to Rhode Island’s northern border. It houses sixth through eighth grades for the regional school district that serves the towns of Blackstone and Millville.   This is a quiet, somewhat suburban to rural area where most town residents choose to remain to raise their own families. The major landform in the area is the Blackstone River, which runs southeast through our towns. Because of this river, like many New England towns,  these areas were prominent mill towns in the late industrial era, and our landscape is dotted with old mills near the river, many which have been repurposed for factory work, storage or condo living.
Our regional school district has two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.  Our ten-year-old building was built to keep our students up-to-date with technology. We are proud to say that we have 5 computer labs and a STEM program for each grade.  It is our sixth-grade students who will be asking the questions to the chosen ARISS astronaut. Sixth graders have just completed an extensive set of lessons about the ISS, its mission, the country partners who sponsor and keep the ISS going, its components, astronauts, some of the science happening on board, and a little bit about astronaut training. Earlier in the school year, they learned about our Universe, its history, the formation and the lives of stars and galaxies, our Sun and its solar system and Earth’s place in all of this.

Students are very excited to have this opportunity to speak with an ISS astronaut. In our classes, we often follow the path of the ISS, and we watch the Earth from the High Definition Earth Viewing System (HDEV) cameras placed on the ISS.  We watched today’s Soyuz TMA-19M launch and ISS docking, bringing the three new crew members for Expedition 46.  We have also had some very successful ISS viewing parties where students returned to school with their parents after dark to view the ISS when it passed overhead.  We know you astronauts can’t see us, but we waved anyway!

Thank you ARISS, NASA, ESA and all the ISS partners, our ARISS helpers Charlie Sufana and David Taylor, and all the astronauts who have participated in this great program which gives so many students a glimpse into and a personal connection with the science of space exploration and communication, on Earth and in space!