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In November, West View alumnus Greg Krauland spent a day with our students. Mr. Krauland is an aerospace engineer for SpaceX. He helps design and build rockets that have successfully lunched satellites into orbit. Mr. Krauland gave a whole-school presentation, and conducted sessions for individual grade levels. Mr. Krauland also visited McIntyre Elementary School and North Hills Junior High.
To see the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on Mr. Krauland's visit, click here!

 

To prepare for Mr. Krauland’s visit, students in all grade levels studied space topics.

Students in kindergarten and grade 1 learned about star formation in clouds called nebulae. Using cotton, highlighters, and glitter glue, they made nebulae of their own.

 
 
 
Our Grade 1 GATE student authored his own book about the origin of a very special constellation.
 
In grade 2, students learned about the Space Race of the 1960’s. The USA and the USSR competed to see who would reach the moon first. Students made board games to play out the orbital drama!

Grade 3 GATE students created their own planets, learning how a planet’s environment is shaped by the type of star it orbits, its proximity to the star, its size, and its atmosphere and water content. After creating the planets, the students wrote interplanetary adventures using their creations as settings.

My controls were jammed! I decided to look at the planet before I saw the aliens!

The planet had volcanos, odd-colored trees, craters, and odd purple fruit on the trees!

Then I landed on the planet. It was orange and red and even yellow. It is striped with all those colors.

The aliens looked at my ship. The aliens looked like walking rocks with moving and carved-out eyes with multi-colored clothes. They opened the hatch and gave me what looked like a rock. They said, “Try it! It’s a cookie!”

I tried it. “Mmmmmmmmmmm,” I said. It tasted like a Thanksgiving feast!

Then, they brought me to the odd tree. It looked like a palm tree with purple polka dots. They took a fruit off the tree. It looked like purple polka dotted eggplants. They said, “Try it.”

I tried it. I said, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!” It tasted like a turkey.

The volcano erupted!!!! It looked like a huge diamond with lava all over it. I had forgotten it was there! Then I screamed, “Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ran to my rocket, but when I got there, it was destroyed by a hot blob of lava. I didn’t know what to do!

In grade 4 GATE, students “interviewed” pioneers of flight to learn about humans’ journeys beyond earth’s surface. The students also made models of these important inventions in the history of flight. Interview subjects included Icarus, Leonardo DaVinci, the Montgolfier Brothers, Robert Goddard, the Wright Brothers, and Werner von Braun.

Narrator: What inspired you to make the flying machine?

Leonardo: The thought of people flying. I studied birds before making the sketch. It was fun thinking of making the sketch of the flying machine, but very hard too.

Narrator: Didn’t a scientist in 1901 remake the flying machine, and flew it 180 miles?

Leonardo: No, that was all a myth but, they did make the airplane that was much like the flying machine.

WILL: What made you make rockets?

GODDARD: As a boy I dreamt of going to Mars or making a device that could.

WILL: What did you use to fuel the rocket?

GODDARD: I used gasoline and liquid oxygen. That so it would work in space.

WILL: How did it work?

GODDARD: The gasoline would make fire and liquid oxygen would keep it burning. It would also work in space.

Interviewer: What inspired the design of your airplane?

Orville: Kites mainly inspired the design and other things like birds and bats, with their wings. I think mostly the way that the birds and bats were flying, it would be a good design we figured… or we hoped.

Interviewer: Why did you choose to come to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, rather than stay in Dayton, Ohio?

Wilbur: The wind here on the coast is better than the wind in Ohio. It would make it easy for our plane to get a little height and soar kind of with the wind.

Me: First off, what is the I.S.S?

Nasa engineer: The I.S.S. stands for International Space Station. We send people to work and live in space.

Me: Where is the I.S.S. assembling?

Nasa engineer: It is assembling in the earth’s atmosphere.

Me: Who put it together?

nasa engineer: Loads of different stations!

Me: When will it end?

Nasa engineer: It’ll end in 2016.

Interviewer: How did you think the helicopter would work?

Da Vinci: I thought the rotor would spin upwards like a screw when the wind blew.

Interviewer: Why did you make the rotor out of linen?

Da Vinci: I needed a material that was lightweight and would fly smoothly.

Interviewer: Do you think you were on the right track?

Da Vinci: Yes because the rotor of the helicopter now spins now spins in the same direction so it flies upwards.

Interviewer: How did you think the landing gear would work?

Da Vinci: I thought the landing gear would come down to the ground to stabilize the machine.

Tyler: What were you working on for NASA?

Werner (von Braun): I worked on an operation called Operation Paperclip. This was an operation where the Americans would recruit many scientists including me. That was so we did not do anything for the Russians in upcoming wars.

Tyler: Is there anything you learned in NASA?

Werner: Yes, I learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution. Oh yes-- I also learned that one test is worth 1,000 expert opinions.

Mya: Where do you work?

Joseph (Montgolfier): We work at a paper manufacturing, and that is why we used a paper bag for our experiments.

Mya: When did you start your experiments?

Etienne: We started our experiments in 1782.

Mya: When did the idea come to you?

Joseph: I was watching the sparks and ash float up from the fire and was inspired by the heat making them float.

Mya: How do get the hot air balloon to fly?

Etienne: You fill the balloon with hot air and then the hot air is less dense than cold air so it floats.
Fifth and sixth graders read excerpts from Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, and designed travel brochures for interplanetary tourists. Their biggest challenge was in making the hazardous and uncomfortable conditions sound as appealing as a Caribbean cruise!

GATE students in grade five studied the science and mythology of constellations. They used that information to design their own constellations, complete with origin myth.

The Small Elephant

The small elephant is a constellation in the shape of an elephant in the northern part of the sky. It can be seen in Pittsburgh during late spring and summer months. It is 16,984,000 light years away. The mythology is from ancient India.

A royal family in India had four children. On their children’s tenth birthdays, they get to ride on an elephant.

It is their third child’s tenth birthday, and they aren’t sure if she should ride on an elephant. She is smaller than her other siblings. They are looking for an elephant that would be safe for her.

One day, they hear that there is an elephant that is the same age as the others, only much smaller. The elephant is always teased by people and sounds like the elephants don’t like him either. As soon as the family heard this news, they went to the elephant place and bought the little elephant. Their daughter was now able to ride an elephant on her birthday, and as her birthday wish, she made the elephant have a place in the sky. Now, every year on her birthday, the elephant appears in the sky.

Princess Rosella and King Akin

You look into the sky-- is it a fish, a woman or a mermaid? It’s all three! This constellation is Princess Rosella and King Akin! Princess Rosella is a mermaid who can turn into a woman or a fish, and King Akin is a selfish king who is often lonely. You can only see this constellation in the northern Hemisphere in Greece or northern China. You can see it in December, January and parts of February and November. There are 27 stars in this constellation. The main stars are Akin, (King Akin’s crown) Sea, (Rosella’s tail) Oceanda, (tail) Shlinto, Dlange, and Chon.

People use this constellation for navigation. In Greece, if you look At Rosella’s tail and move to the west, it will lead you to water. If you find Akin’s staff and go east, you will find mountains!

You don’t have to go to Mars to find this constellation; it is 90 light years away! This is because Rosella needed to be near the ocean (her family) after she died and appeared in the sky. Rosella turns into a fish during the summer, and she turns into a human during fall. (This is only in China.) This was because she transformed to complete tasks for other people. Her story originated in Greece, but is also known in China. Here is the Greek story of Princess Rosella and King Akin.

One day, King Akin came wandering near the pond. He was sad and very lonely. He wanted someone to sit on the throne with him. King Akin had looked at all the maids in the castle, but no one was good enough for him. Suddenly, a beautiful woman dressed in a silver gown strung with glittery gold beads and amazing golden hair appeared in the pond. She walked to the castle. “Ma’am I must say, you look more stunning than the seven seas!” King Akin said while catching up to her.

The woman kept walking. “Where do you live?” King Akin kept asking questions. “Do you like palaces? I live in a grand palace. You could live with me if you like!”

The woman stopped walking and stared at the king. “My name is King Akin,” he said. “What is your name?”

The woman hesitated, but in a voice as sweet as honey she said, “My name is Rosella. Princess Rosella, and I can live with you.”

The king was overjoyed. Akin married the stranger and had a magical wedding. The next day, the King came to the pond. “This is an ugly pond!” he said. “I will turn it into a second palace.”

The fish were horrified--first the king stole their princess, and now he was destroying their home! Rosella heard about this and quickly and left a note for the king. It said, “Be back soon.” She didn’t come back, though. She went in the pond and turned into a mermaid. When Akin came looking for her by the pond, Rosella pulled him in. She showed him the amazing sites of under the sea. Akin was amazed, and he never touched the pond again.

When Rosella died, she had seventy seven children. They were as tiny as stars. When Rosella went up to heaven, her children followed. They formed a constellation. The thirteen children that formed Rosella are: Sea, Oceanda, Shlinto, Dlage, Rose, Kline, Thinler, Ekern, Geina, Joy, Lazzer, Lassie and Mellone. The children who formed Akin are: Akin, Cheetah, Spere, Flarm, Tlink, Geezo, Ladan, Kogeo, Hope, Sam, Darlie and Reo.

The Chinese version goes the same way, except in the end, the children carry Akin and put him in the sky for a punishment. Also a big Sea monster attacks them and carries off the castle.

Sigra, the Wind Goddess

The festival of the wind has begun! I am one of the three wind dancers. We start when the planet Zizu moves into the constellation Sigra. We do our dance every night that the planet Zizu is in this constellation. Then, when we move out, the dance stops.

The dance is to honor the wind Goddess Sigra. Her constellation shows us the wind season, which is when it is always windy. The wind season lasts one month. We call this month Windarse, which is also the name of the festival.To celebrate, we make banners that flow in the wind. The banners have pictures of Sigra, Zizu, Shina, Cite, and Liptum, the major celestial bodies in the constellation. Our dance represents the wind.

This constellation is 1,612 light years away. It is north over Silaput, and has Shina, Cite, and Liptum in it.

In grade 6 GATE, students examined the lives and contributions of great astronomers. In an enrichment group, they learned scientific principles of rocketry, and built five-foot-long replicas of the Saturn V. The models open, so viewers can see inside the craft. After construction, teams of rocket builders used their creations to teach kindergarteners about the rocket that took men to the moon. A big thank you to Mr. Goodworth for cutting all of our PVC pipe!

To see McKnight Journal photos, click here!

For the second straight year, West View Elementary School welcomed over two dozen volunteers for a schoolwide Junior Achievement Day. The volunteers visited grades K-6 classrooms to teach students about economics, entrepreneurship, and global awareness. West View Elementary School has been a proud participant in the Junior Achievement program since 2008.

West View Elementary has again been selected to receive Junior Achievement's Education Leadership Award.

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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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