Gus Bus students conduct video interview with NASA engineer

by Eric Gorton



Among the many challenges to sending humans to Mars is landing them safely on the planet, a task facing 22 attendees of the JMU’s Reading Road Show-Gus Bus. 

To get some help with their challenge, the students will interview NASA engineer Monica Guzlik via Skype at 4:30 p.m. today in the Stone Spring Elementary School computer lab. Members of the Harrisonburg School Board have been invited to join in. Guzlik works at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. 

The students, who are in grades 3-5, have been working on the project for the past few weeks, assisted by JMU students and Gus Bus Instructional Program Coordinator Becky Lantz. 

In the engineering design challenge, students are learning to use the engineering design process to develop solutions to real-world problems faced by experts at NASA and to investigate questions like how to create a parachute to slow a spacecraft for landing on Mars. 

“Students in our program get to take STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) to the next level with this challenge,” Lantz said. “With the support of NASA we get access to a real problem and support from people who are also trying to solve it. We get to experience the teamwork, challenges, and accomplishments along with NASA. It’s been a great experience.” 

The opportunity for the Gus Bus students was made possible through a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grant and NASA. The agencies are providing students in some of the nation’s highest-need communities with engaging, science-focused educational content during out-of-school time. 

The Reading Road Show, a program of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at JMU and more affectionately known as the Gus Bus, is a mobile literacy program that helps bring literacy opportunities into students' neighborhoods. On the Gus Bus, instructors provide story time, activities and book checkout for students. The Gus Bus also works in collaboration with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to give out food bags at the neighborhood stops.



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Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Last Updated: Saturday, January 2, 2021

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