It wasn’t an average science lecture when Commander Peter Robson recently stopped by Granby Elementary School to deliver an out-of-this-world lesson aeronautics.
The guest speaker is an educator with the Challenger Learning Center in Rochester and provided an energetic, high-flying experience to the third grade students.
Using hands-on demonstrations, educational videos and other props, Robson provided the students with a memorable experience.
He discussed topics such as microgravity, space explorations, life as an astronaut and how to do everyday tasks like sleep, use the bathroom and eat aboard a space shuttle.
“We are able to select the meals and foods we want to eat in outer space,” Robson said. “For some reason our taste buds change when we go to space, so you may not like brussel sprouts on Earth, but that could be your favorite food in space.”
Although the thought of brussel sprouts was off-putting to many of the third graders, the youngsters were happy to learn that Skittles was among the top food choices for astronauts.
Robson showed a video of astronauts eating the fruity candy on the shuttle, where the microgravity made it possible to open the packet of Skittles and eat them right out of the air.
To get a real “taste” of life as an astronaut, each student received a packet of vacuum-sealed space food.
Menu items included fruit, ice cream, vegetables and an assortment of other foods.
In addition to food, students also saw a video of astronauts consuming water.
“Because of the surface tension, the water sticks together,” Robson said. “That’s what happens in the microgravity. You can see it looks like the astronauts are almost eating the water.”
Following a nearly two-hour presentation, students peppered Robson with questions as they begged to learn more about current space missions, rovers, and the potential of life on Mars.
“This gets back to the root of the joy and happiness of learning,” he said. “We trying to bring a real world component to everything we teach. We want them to know what they’re doing in school really does matter and can impact your future career choice.”