Space odysseys at local schools

Space odysseys at local schools

Conferencing with an astronaut at Ben Porat Yosef

A planetarium was set up in the Ben Porat Yosef library BPY

Did you ever wonder what it is like to work in outer space?

Three weeks ago, students at Ben Porat Yosef Yeshiva Day School in Paramus had the chance to ask astronaut Shannon Walker that question. Walker, who spent 161 days at the International Space Station in 2010 and served as co-pilot on the Soyuz flights to and from the station, spoke with students at the Paramus school via video conference. She showed them a space suit and answered the questions the students asked.

It was part of the school’s “Discovery Day,” which takes students out of the curriculum twice a year to focus on a specific scientific topic – this go around, space.

“We’re looking for stuff they don’t necessarily learn in the classroom,” said Cindy Wiesel, the school’s junior high science teacher, who helped organize the event.

Also on the day’s schedule: a chance to examine a real moon rock, on loan from NASA; the challenge of putting together a puzzle while wearing gloves in order to simulate what it’s like to work in a space suit; a look at models of the planets and their distances from the sun, and the chance to feel how much 100 pennies would weigh on different planets in the solar system.

“The whole experience was spectacular for the kids,” Wiesel said.

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