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Students take pictures of moon, win science books

Dec. 22, 2012 at 6:22 a.m.

A photo entered into a drawing for the Shoot the Moon! MoonKAM Sweepstakes.

While finding out that the best way to learn science is to experience it firsthand, University of Houston-Victoria School of Education & Human Development students won books for their classroom.

During the fall semester, university assistant professor Teresa Le Sage-Clements' Elementary Science Methods class participated in MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students), a National Aeronautics and Space Administration project geared toward middle school students but perfect for college students learning to become teachers.

Le Sage-Clements' previous classes have participated in a similar project called EarthKAM, which takes pictures of the Earth from the International Space Station.

"Since they're training to become educators, it's a cool experience for them to participate in a science project like this," Le Sage-Clements said.

The MoonKAM was part of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission, which placed twin satellites in orbit around the moon to measure its gravity. The satellites, named Ebb and Flow, have orbited the moon since January.

The project allowed science students from around the world to log on to a website, pick coordinates of the moon and have one of NASA's two probes orbiting the moon take a picture for the student.

The students then used the photos to study lunar features, such as craters and mountains.

Students were able to print out the photos as keepsakes.

The 32 students in the class took nearly 150 photos of the moon.

For every 25 pictures, the class was entered into a drawing for the Shoot the Moon! MoonKAM Sweepstakes, hosted by the science education company Sally Ride Science.

The class was one of six from around the world that won "The Mystery of Mars" classroom set and "The Inside Story of the Moon" classroom set.

Le Sage-Clements said she will use the 30 books for future classes.

Carin Drozd, a student in Le Sage-Clements' class and a teacher at Head Start Trinity in Victoria, said she spread out taking pictures throughout the semester so that she could have photos from different stages of the project.

"As time went on, the probes got closer to the moon," she said. "I wanted photos that reflected the probes' journey. My earlier photos show the moon from far away, while my later photos are closer and have more details of the moon's craters and mountains."

The class participated in other hands-on projects throughout the semester, such as lab experiments, making rockets and building a model dream science classroom.

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