Students and faculty of Anacapa School are preparing for a rare event that will allow them to make contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station via amateur radio as part of the independent school’s annual Synthesis Unit.
Anacapa has the opportunity to participate in the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, a cooperative venture between NASA and other international space agencies that coordinates scheduled radio contacts between astronauts aboard the ISS and schools.
The 10-minute live forum will bounce between Anacapa students and astronauts as the space station’s orbit passes over Southern California. NASA is expected to confirm a final date for Anacapa School’s ISS contact sometime in the 2013 spring semester.
Each year, Anacapa students participate in the school’s Synthesis Unit, Anacapa’s premier tool for developing critical thinking skills. Each unit provides students with unique opportunities to explore a specific topic in depth with expert speakers, field trips and hands-on experiences.
This year, teachers across varying content areas have incorporated lessons regarding space, astronomy, NASA and the ISS into their subject curriculum in preparation for a special guest presenter who will join in from 250 miles above Earth.
“I think I am as excited as the students are about this opportunity,” said Gordon Sichi, Anacapa’s founding headmaster. “It was such an honor to work with NASA for this privilege, and we are fortunate to have the help of the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club to assist with the technical details.”
Students in the Anacapa Near Space Exploration Club are laying the groundwork for the contact and will coordinate the actual event. As part of their preparations, ANSEC members are studying for the amateur radio license test, which will allow them to use specially allocated radio frequencies during the exchange.
ARISS and Teaching From Space, a NASA education office, encourage participating schools to lay such groundwork as part of their goal to instill interest in science, technology, engineering and math subjects and careers among students. The ARISS radio contact is one in a series of educational activities in the United States and abroad to improve teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Teaching From Space promotes a variety of learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of human spaceflight.