Hopatcong Students See NASA Experts At Work

On Thur., Sept. 29, Hopatcong Middle and High School S.T.E.A.M. students traveled to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The trip was part of a culminating field experience in which students could have the opportunity to see the creativity and innovation of the country’s best engineers and scientists at work.

A few days prior, students were invited to an evening discussion on the trip’s tour and activities with information with school educators, which were briefed by NASA via webinar. Additionally, students viewed the Smithsonian Channel Documentary, “Building Star Trek,” which depicts many of the innovations in technology predicted by the writers of the famous television show of the 60’s.

During their visit to the Goddard Space Flight Center students were able to observe the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope in the world’s largest clean-room. Expected for launch in 2018, the Webb telescope will replace the Hubble Space telescope and using infrared technology, will find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe.

Students were also able to view and discuss with NASA engineers components of the ICESat2 Satellite, robotics asteroid redirection mission, & testing facilities. Additionally, NASA personnel were available to facilitate several hands-on mini workshops in which students 
experimented with laser optics, spectrum analysis, thermal dynamics and altitude calculations.

Hopatcong’s S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) program provides teaching and learning experiences outside of the typical high school curriculum that focus on imagination, inquiry, and interdisciplinary problem solving to ultimately foster more activity-based instruction.

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