PET and other LFM activities

From: Elaine McCreight <>
Subject: PET and other LFM activities
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 1997 17:38:48 -0700

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Date: Sun, 13 Apr 1997 14:57:40 -0700
From: Elaine McCreight <>
Organization: Encinal School
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To: Jan Wee <>
CC: Ginny <>
Subject: Re: PET
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Our PET data collection day, and the many weeks of planning for it, were
very exciting.  We decided to collect our data from our schoolyard, just
outside our backdoor.  Everyone, certainly including the teacher,
learned a great deal about all steps of the process--and about 'our own
planet--and backyard.  

Along with working on Live From Mars-related projects 3-4 times each
week, we'll begin to use Tom Snyder's laser disk simulation:  "The Great
Solar System Rescue."  This program fits in very well with space
exploration studies, and our fifth grade students love it.

Tomorrow a city firetruck is arriving to help 3 classes  test their egg
drop plans.  Science and drama...

Another class is starting plans to build and test rovers. Students will
work in 6 collaborative groups to build, test, collect, and analyze data
about their rovers.  As a teacher, I love to circulate and observe 5th
grade project team dynamics.

For many weeks now, we've enjoyed participating in the on-line chats. 
For homework, we read printed copies of the biographies;  each student
submits questions; and then a student team selects the best questions to
ask on-line.  

A week ago, all our fifth grades were extremely lucky to have Dr. Geoff
Briggs talk to our class about his Mars' research.  He was an extremely
popular speaker:  after his talk, there was a long line of 10-year olds
who wanted a 'real scientist's' autograph.  Big impression, and since
then, lots of perceptive questions about Mars and Mars exploration. For
answers, we look at the Live From Mars site and other sites you've

Next month, at our county technology meeting, I'll tell a little about
our involvment in the Live From Mars project.  Marc Siegel's first
describing it at a county technology meeting drew us in. 

Outstanding project!  Thank you, Jan, Marc, and everyone who's worked so
hard on this.  We're planning to participate again next year.

Elaine McCreight
5th Grade Teacher
Encinal School
Menlo Park Schools


 Ginny wrote:
> Dear Jan and Friends,
>         Today was a great day! I decided that PET was to great a learning
> experience to do only once, so taking Bryan's suggestion, we went out and
> PET-ed  our school surroundings.  I think the students did a MUCH  better
> job the second time around. (As I'm sure every scientist feels more
> competent as they get to know their tools and field better)  They had more
> of an idea of what they were doing. I structured it differently this time
> also and they were in 7 groups: environmentalists, animal biologists, plant
> biologists, rock geologists, soil geologists, wind meteorologists and
> temperature meteorologists.  I was really very happy at how happily they
> went around collecting their data. Just too cool!  In the middle of  their
> exploration, an editor from the newspaper came out and took pictures of
> them and interviewed them about this "field trip" and their trip to NASA.
> She came back to the classroom with us and talked to the kids for about an
> hour.  So, that ought to be fun to "read about"...
>         In the class, we are presently doing Tom Snyder's "Great Ocean
> Rescue" which is a simulation that requires "thinking and planning and
> using tools to gather data and  make decisions". It's on Laser for the
> whole class and also on computer disc. It is a great program, so check it
> out if you can!
>         Thanks everyone for you great ideas, it really helps me plan better
> instructional activities! gin