Salado students take science projects on zero-gravity flights

KWTX News 10 at 10P
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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SALADO, Texas (KWTX) - A group of Salado 6th graders got to complete the ultimate science project by having their projects fly in a zero-gravity aircraft.

The students’ teacher, Laura Tomlin, said they’ve been working on two major projects since October.

One project is designed to investigate how water movement in the soil on the moon and Mars is affected by the different gravity levels on those bodies.

The other looks at how long-term space flights could lead to liver damage because the microgravity environment may suppress enzyme function.

Tomlin was one of four teachers nationwide chosen to be embedded with the Carthage College Microgravity Team and take these students’ project on the zero-gravity aircraft called Zero-G G-Force One in Florida.

The opportunity comes through a partnership with the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, The National Space Society, and the Zero Gravity Corporation.

Laura Tomlin and fellow teachers
Laura Tomlin and fellow teachers(Laura Tomlin)

Each teacher was able to experience eleven minutes of weightlessness.

Tomlin said she hopes taking these projects out of the classroom will inspire the students to embrace careers in STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math.

“I think space exploration is a really good way to get kids excited about science. You know, it takes science fiction and makes it reality,” Tomlin said. “Because there is so much going on in the space programs right now and these kids need to be prepared for that.”

Most of the students who were involved in the projects told KWTX they are interested in careers in STEM after being exposed to complex science projects in class.

“All I would’ve thought that we would do is elephant toothpaste and chemistry stuff,” said Caedmon Flynn, one of the many 6th graders participating in the projects.

“But then Ms. Tomlin started talking about space shuttles and right when that unit ended, I was like ‘you know what, I’m committing to this.’ And it is so great, it’s paid off a lot.”

Once Tomlin returns to Salado from Florida, students will compare their initial results from class with the results from the zero-gravity aircraft.

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