Saturday, May 7, 2011

Need Some Advice

So this past week, I had a guest speaker come to my class.  Mr. Peter Chitko is an alumnus of my school and a mechanical engineer for NASA working on the space shuttle at Kennedy Space Center.  He came and spoke to most of my classes about what his department does to inspect the space shuttle after it lands and get it ready for its next launch.  It was an interesting presentation, that most of my students thoroughly enjoyed. 

As many teachers do, I was trying to think of a way to make this an even better experience if I'm able to do it again next year.  When I asked some of my students what they thought, most agreed that it was a great presentation.  When I pushed them for what they would want to hear if they were to hear him again, many suggested that he talk about what NASA plans to do in the future.

That was when it hit me, there won't be a space shuttle program next year!

So although I think Mr. Chitko is an amazing resource to have, how can I best use his expertise to enrich the education of my students?

As I've mentioned before, I'm definitely thinking of converting to the Modeling Curriculum and possibly Standards Based Grading.  One thought I had was to somehow create an somewhat open-ended experience that would allow my students to use/show what they know in a new area.  Possibly have Mr. Chitko provide a current problem that he and his team is facing, and let the students show what they can do with it (Yes, that's a reference to Dan Meyer).  In doing so my students might be able to use that content to improve their grade for (a) standard(s) of their choice.

If you had access to type of a resource, how would you make best use of it?  I would truly love to hear your thoughts!  Since he does this for other schools besides mine, I'm betting Peter would as well. Thanks!