Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2000

Suther to explore final frontier at NASA conference

November 30, 2000

Students in Basehor-Linwood High School science teacher Kevin Suther's classes will get an opportunity next year to learn about "the final frontier" as Suther has won a scholarship to attend a conference sponsored by NASA.

In early February, Suther will attend the 7th Annual International Space Station Educators Conference in Houston, Texas. The trip will be made possible by a scholarship he won through the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center.

Science teachers within the Greenbush service area had the opportunity to apply for the scholarship, that will pay for all expenses incurred for the conference.

Suther's application was accepted because "of the means in which you plan to incorporate what you learn into your current curriculum, including via various technologies and hands-on activities," according to a letter he received in the middle of November.

"I wrote up a report saying how the program would benefit my classroom and how I would take advantage of doing the project," Suther said.

He also had to have a reference and BLHS Assistant Principal Sandy Guidry provided it.

Suther submitted the application in October and found out last week he was accepted.

"Some of the things I put in my report I've had some experience in, including dealing with physics in relation to things that could be enriched by using the NASA program," Suther said. "I also have a student who's interested in going to NASA and being an astronaut and getting into the program. It's kind of inspired me. I want to see how it can benefit my students and also how it can benefit my curriculum.

While in Houston, Suther will participate in keynote sessions, meet and talk to astronauts, scientists, technologists and engineers of the International Space Station. He will also participate in interactive programs.

He will also have the chance to get a "behind-the-scenes" look at the Johnson Space Center.

"Number one is the experience of seeing the NASA program and being able to tour and see the facilities and relay that information back to the students," said Suther. "Also, they will teach us how NASA and the classroom can work together, whether that be on projects or data they take from the space station. I'm kind of going in not knowing a whole lot, but hopefully learning a lot.

"The benefits we get for going to the conference are we get all the curriculum for free, we get connections with astronauts and scientists whom we can interact with via the Internet, e-mail and videoconference. And my classes can interact with professionals who are actually doing that type of work."

Suther hopes to start incorporating the information he receives at the conference at some point during the spring semester.

"Maybe in the last couple of months of school we'll try out a few new things, but full force in the fall next year to be able to get a quality program going. It kind of depends on how extensive the material is and what it involves."

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