By MEGAN WILLIAMS
Daily News-Record 10/4/19
HARRISONBURG — When you get a request from NASA, you don’t say no. Students at Harrisonburg High School have been asked to participate in a project with the space agency to help address common science misconceptions.
Andy Jackson, co-director of the Governor’s STEM Academy at Harrisonburg High School, received an email solicitation asking that his engineering students be given a task to create videos for students in grades fourth through eighth to explain the science behind phenomenon that people often get the facts wrong about.
“I don’t even like the word misconception. These are preconceptions,” Jackson said, meaning things that people feel like they already know the answer to. One example
Jackson gave was that seasons are determined by the position of the Earth in relation to the sun, when really it has to do with the tilt of the Earth.
On Thursday, students got their assignments and began working on their videos, which are due to NASA in December.
Students were put in groups of three and had to choose between two common misconceptions — how light travels through materials and the motion of the moon.
It wasn’t immediately obvious what the exact misconceptions surrounding these two things are because along with developing the videos, part of the NASA assignment was to gauge the impact of video creation on the learning experience.
Students took a pre-test on the topic of their choosing to show how much they knew about the topic before researching it for the video. They will take a test after the creation of the video to show how much was learned about the topic during the process.
Once the videos are completed they will be submitted to NASA, which will put them on its website and teachers will create lesson plans around them. The videos will be two minutes long and will address the misconception, correct it with science and do it in an engaging manner that will appeal to upper elementary and middle school students.
To learn more about the program go to https://nasaeclips. arc.nasa.gov/.