Galveston students experience science, mathematics outside the classroom
BY ANNE PAPAKONSTANTINOU
Special to Rice News
Students from Galveston Independent School District (GISD) got a newfound appreciation for mathematics and science when they visited Rice last week as part of GISD’s R4: Relations, Robots, Rockets and Roller Coasters summer camp program.
|Students from Galveston Independent School District visited Rice’s observatory atop the Brockman Hall for Physics and
were able to view sunspots through telescopes on the rooftop.
The intensive four-week camp takes students beyond the classroom to experience real-world mathematics and science through project-based learning. It is designed for students in grades 6-12 to explore physics, chemistry and mathematics and is the result of a partnership between the school district and the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP).
Students visited Rice’s new Brockman Hall for Physics and heard a presentation about space weather by Rice scientist Patricia Reiff, professor in physics and astronomy and director of the Rice Space Institute. After the presentation, students visited the university’s observatory atop Brockman Hall and were able to view sunspots through telescopes on the rooftop. The students also watched “The New Force Five,” a full-dome animated show in the university’s portable planetarium, which showed the effects of EF5 tornados, hurricanes and solar flares.
Assisting in the presentations Reiff were data technician Judy Dye, institute and conference administrator Umbe Cantí, and graduate students William Longley and Wei Chen, all of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. RUSMP’s Director of Secondary Programs Susan Troutman, who arranged the visit, said, ”The students’ visit to the Rice campus gave them a firsthand opportunity to connect what they were studying to the research of practicing scientists thus validating their classroom work.” The event was sponsored by NASA MMS mission.
–Anne Papakonstantinou is director of the Rice University School Mathematics Project.