Ground Control to Commander Hadfield

I haven’t blogged here for a while. There are a couple of drafts kicking about in my “yet to be published” list and another couple festering inside my brain portal. Best I do something about these drafts…

This year our over-arching topic is Out of this World and with this we’ve been investigating a bit of stuff about space. I gave the students the challenge of choosing one current mission that was being undertaken by NASA or the European Space Agency and to complete an inquiry into it.

Here is a PDF of our shared Google Doc outlining the project.

Anyway, one thing led to another and I decided we needed to tweet the International Space Station.

We checked for a couple of days to see if we would get a reply. The kids were asking, “Hey Mr. B! Has the space station tweeted us back yet?” They hadn’t and I had a brainwave last night. More on that shortly. We’ve been learning Space Oddity recently (yes… I’m that kind of teacher) and to kick things off with an Out of this World bent, I showed the kids this classic video from ISS astronaut Chris Hadfield.

It’s a great video with over 25 million views, which brings me back to my brainwave. Last night I thought I might be able to tweet Chris our question requesting a picture of New Zealand from space. I checked it out with a couple of the kids who came in off the early bus and they quite liked the idea.

I was thinking the same thing would happen. We might not hear back, but with Twitter you never know…. An hour after our original tweet came this reply:

And that, my friends, shows the wonder and beauty of the Twitter. You can put something out there and things like this happen. The kids were totally amped. We also had a supplementary question.

I asked them at the end of the day, “How many people came to school today thinking, ‘you know, I reckon I’ll speak to an astronaut today.’?” I know I didn’t.

A massive thank you to Chris for engaging with our students in this way.


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