Spotlights
Teachers from Deep Creek, Parkville, Perry Hall middle schools participate in Weightless Flights of Discovery
9/28/11

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Julie Perzan of Perry Hall Middle “flies” through a hula hoop.

The well-organized, gravity-driven worlds of four Baltimore County Public Schools middle school teachers were turned upside down on Monday, September 12, as they participated in Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Weightless Flights of Discovery program.

The BCPS teachers – Steven Showalter from Deep Creek Middle School, Carole Rehak and Julie Perzan of Perry Hall Middle School, and Luis Gonzalez of Parkville Middle School – were among approximately three dozen distinguished teachers from the greater Baltimore-Washington area to participate in the annual parabolic (or "zero gravity") flights that Northrop Grumman sponsors to help teachers inspire students to pursue technical or scientific fields related to space exploration.

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Perry Hall Middle teacher Carole Rehak
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Participating Baltimore-Washington area teachers included four from Baltimore County.

The two-hour flights followed a hands-on science workshop held August 13, where teachers learned the principles of microgravity. During the workshops, the teachers also received assistance in developing experiments they conducted during the flights to show how math, science, and engineering principles apply to weightless space environments. The weightless flights are similar to training astronauts receive prior to space flight.

“The purpose of the program,” explains Rehak, “is to excite students into wanting to go into a STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] field, and it has had that exact impact. Many of our students want to explore science and math fields now!”

For more information about the program, please visit www.northropgrumman.com/goweightless.

Photos courtesy of Carole Rehak, mathematics teacher, Perry Hall Middle School
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