My 8th graders bounded into the room to see if I"d seen the launch of Orion.
"Yes, I saw it. It was amazing....looked like the whole thing was about to go up in flames and then it shot off into the sky, " I said. "Did you see it?"
Some had and almost everyone was interested. I could tell it was one of those teachable moments that we had to capitalize on. So, thanks to NASA TV and Ustream, we were able to watch it live. 1st Hour hoped it splash down during their hour. No luck
2nd Hour hoped they would be the lucky hour. Nope. Neither was 3rd Hour.
4th Hour came in and they were captivated by the 10 minute countdown to splash down. In some of the down time, I told them stories of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. When the drones picked up the Orion as it re-entered, my students were excited because they knew all about the type of drone that was being used. They knew all about Predator drones from our study of these earlier in the school year.
Big questions were on their minds. Why does the US spend so much on space exploration when there are "big problems" that we have here on Earth? How do they know it's worth it?
From listening to their questions, it occurred to me that everything we've witnessed about the Rosette Mission and Orion have poke their curiosity and they want to know more. This will definitely be on my radar for lesson designs in the 2nd semester...especially since they are generated from what students have asked.
This wasn't in my curriculum but teachable science moments are more important than curriculum sometimes. Do you ever veer off the curriculum and take the chance to discuss something because it's on their minds?