Third graders at Franklin Elementary School connected via cyberspace with NASA Scientist Kristen Weaver recently to ask questions prompted by their classroom activities. Through videoconferencing in the Franklin auditorium, students spoke face-to-face in real time with Weaver who is with the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The five Franklin third grade classes selected two questions each for the scientist, who first presented them with information and visuals including satellite maps and imagery.

Matthew Fisher asked, “What can trees tell us about climate change?”  Weaver responded that regarding the life of a tree, climate is an important factor. Depending on if the tree is growing in New Jersey or in sub-tropical temperatures in Florida, for example, will make a difference.

Weaver displayed NASA satellites on the screen, explaining their purpose. One student observed, “I liked learning how waves formed. One of the satellites showed the mountains and why the oceans are colder or hotter.”

Tara Romano, third grade teacher at Franklin School who helped organize the videoconference, explained, “I contacted NASA this summer and was successful in setting up this great addition to our new science curriculum.  This experience has solidified what the students have learned so far.”