Purdue Space Day promotes STEM education for students

October 19, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The second astronaut to walk on the moon will be on the Purdue University campus Sunday (Oct. 25) for this year's Purdue Space Day.

A presentation by Buzz Aldrin at 9:30 a.m. in Elliott Hall of Music kicks off events for the 20th Space Day. The presentation is open to Space Day campers and their families only.

The one-day camp, held primarily in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.

The camp is open to students from third through eighth grades and begins with check-in at 8:15 a.m. Activities continue until 3:15 p.m., with three hands-on space, science and engineering learning sessions in addition to Aldrin's presentation.

Activities include third- and fourth-graders exploring a map of Mars developed by Aldrin's ShareSpace Foundation, becoming rocket scientists as they develop straw rockets and designing a structure to protect an egg from a three-story drop.

Fifth- and sixth-graders will learn teamwork and principles of rocket propulsion through creating their own stomp rocket and deploying their own balloon satellites. They also learn astronomy principles using a night sky simulated in an inflatable indoor Star Lab.

Seventh- and eighth-graders will be tasked with solving an emergency in space modeled after the Apollo 13 situation, working with EPICS engineering students on design challenges and constructing their own rocket propelled with pressurized air and water.

Aldrin also will interact with Space Day participants throughout the day.

Purdue Space Day started in 1996 with just over 150 school students in attendance and 40 Purdue students running the program. The event now has grown to attract more than 650 students assisted by more than 250 university students.

The Indiana Space Grant Consortium and School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, both part of Purdue's College of Engineering, support Space Day. All spots for this year's event are filled. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Source: Michael Peters, 765-494-5147, peter100@purdue.edu 

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