Four Teachers Take Science To New Heights - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Four Teachers Take Science To New Heights

"One minute you're sitting on the floor of the aircraft, the next you're just floating."  Loren Lykins teaches chemistry and physical science at Carlisle High School, but not even more than 15 years of teaching could have prepared him for his latest endeavor.

Floating like the astronauts, something most of us can only dream of.

"When you're a kid you look at clouds and you think, yeah, they're just floating by," said Charla Jordan, a biology teacher at Carlisle.  "When you're on the airplane and you get the opportunity, it's just an absolutely amazing feeling."  A group of teachers from Carlisle were welcomed to the wonderful world of weightlessness on-board NASA's C-9 aircraft.  The group took their lesson plans to new heights in March, selected by NASA to test one of their classroom projects along with teachers from all over the world.  It's something Lykins was determined to be a part of.

"We opened up, and we talked about it," said Lykins.  "We had lots of neat ideas from the kids."  He and his students came up with an apparatus which helped them see the effects of different gravity conditions on various types of soil. 

"We built it in such a way that it would hold 14 test tubes that would hold the soil simulate, and it served it's purpose," said Steve Stegall, who built the instrument.  After submitting a proposal, the team was selected among thousands to take their project into the air.

"Probably the worst thing about this whole project was that I could not take students on the C-9," said Lykins.  But these astronaut teachers brought their experiences right back into the classroom with one goal in mind. 

"There's a big, wide world out there and they can get out and do whatever they want to," said Jordan.  "This gives us a little chance to bring back some of that big, wide world to them."  It's a lesson students took close to heart.  Buddy Beall, a senior at Carlisle, said he's planning to be an aerospace engineer.  "Being able to actually know what's going on outside this little area is pretty cool," said Jaymee Hayes, another senior.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.


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