Out of this world: NASA honors Aspen students | AspenTimes.com
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Out of this world: NASA honors Aspen students

Naomi Havlen
Carolyn Boyd, left, applauds while Kyler Sciarrone, bot AES third graders, adjusts his award after being handed them by NASA representative Josh Stamps at the District Theatre Friday morning May 14, 2004. The 2nd to 4th grades won first place in NASA's My Planet Earth competition. "The competition was designed for kids to look at the Earth the way NASA looks at it" says teacher Julie Wille, "temperature graphing, soil sampling, animal identification. A compilation of data as if you visitied an area or planet for the first time, what would you learn and see." Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.
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A group of Aspen Elementary students were given a first-place award by NASA on Friday for their work rediscovering the planet Earth.

When school began this year Julie Wille’s group of third- and fourth-graders entered the “My Planet, Earth” competition, part of the NASA Student Involvement Program.

“The object was to look at Earth like a scientist would look at another planet,” Wille said. “If we were aliens and landed here, what would we study, hear and see? It would be all new to us, so we went into this like the Earth was something we’d never seen before.”

The group called themselves “The Super Cops of Discovery.” Wille solicited interest from 36 third- and fourth -graders at Aspen Elementary and randomly chose 14 students to participate.

The kids wrote stories about being an alien and landing on Earth, and then came up with questions about the environment. In order to answer those questions, they spent two days and a night at the Aspen Center for Environmental Education performing various investigations.

Wille said the students compared the temperature of the air and the water at different times of the day, used global positioning devices and digital cameras, painted pictures and wrote poetry.

“When we came back, each student was in charge of one aspect of the project, and we compiled that and sent it off to NASA,” she said.

Josh Stamps, who works with NASA’s educational outreach programs, came to Aspen Elementary on Friday morning to present the award. The students won first place out of 3,600 other students and 1,500 projects.

The entries were judged by teams of scientists, engineers, educators and journalists, and the winners were announced in mid-April. Stamps presented the students with medals that he hung around their necks at Friday’s assembly.

Wille said she was surprised to find out about the award. She said her class at Basalt Elementary received second place in the same competition last year.

The third- and fourth-graders who received the award are: Elli Beasley, Django Bonderman, Caroline Boyd, Matteo Garofalo, Britt Hopkins, Carson Leydecker, Alex Menter, Peter Obermeyer, Rebecca Robinson, Kyler Sciarrone, Annabelle Wilcox, Anna Wille, Sarah Wolf and Michael Zimet.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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