PBES joins ‘Space Day’ event May 2

About 160 students, plus faculty and staff, at Peabody-Burns Elementary will join with more than 500 other schools around the world Friday, May 2, by signing Student Signatures in Space posters to celebrate "Space Day 2008."

Student Signatures in Space (S3) provides elementary and middle school students the opportunity to send their digitized signatures into space and feel a personal involvement with the crew and the mission.

Jointly sponsored by NASA and Lockheed Martin, S3 is one program of the award-winning Space Day educational initiative.

?Our goal with Student Signatures in Space is to spark kids? interest in technical studies by giving them a personal connection to the space program,? said Barbara Reinike, Space Day program manager for Lockheed Martin.

?Classes usually follow their signatures mission together from launch to landing, so it really piques the students? interest in the whole process. Coun?terpart lesson plans that incor?porate math and science activities help teachers take the learning experience to the next level.?

To this end, Lockheed Martin provides several space-themed lesson plans as well as classroom and school-wide activity ideas, which are featured on the Space Day Web site at www.spaceday.org.

PBES principal Ken Parry received an e-mail asking if the school was interested in participating, and he saw value in the program.

?In looking toward the future of space flights, as well as space in general, I believe this program helps us get the students interested in some of the many things that are currently happening in our space program,? Parry said. ?This, of course, ultimately affects their future.?

Kathy Preheim, a fifth-grade teacher at PBES, teaches about space and space flight to her students.

?The Signatures in Space program connects the reality of space exploration to the students learn in the classroom,? she said.

The Space Shuttle mission designated to carry this year?s signatures has tentatively been identified as STS-126, a flight to the International Space Station that is scheduled for next fall.

After the signatures return from space, the poster will be returned for permanent display to PBES along with a flight certificate and picture of the crew that carried the signatures into space.

Since the program began in 1997, nearly 4.5 million students have participated in S3. There is no cost to schools to participate. However, because of space constraints on each mission, participation is limited to about 500 schools each year.

Lockheed Martin is the founding sponsor of Space Day, which takes place on the first Friday of each May.

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