Image that reads Center for Educational Technologies. This image links to the Center for Educational Technologies home page.
Wheeling Girl Scouts to Map the Moon with WALL-E

Tue Aug 19 2008

An image of Girl Scout Deryn Martin and Troop Leader Meri Cummings with Wall-E
Members of a Wheeling, WV, Girl Scouts troop will help NASA test a yet-to-be released educational activity based on the new Disney-PIXAR movie, WALL-E.

The girls' troop leader, Dr. Meri Cummings, manages the NASA educational product review process for the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future at the Center for Educational Technologies. She arranged with the activity's designers to have her members of the Organized Chaos troop test the activity Friday from 9-10 a.m. at the center through a videoconference connection via the NASA Digital Learning Network (DLN).

Directive: Mapping the Moon with WALL-E features WALL-E and EVE, characters from the movie. In the activity several students role-play either a satellite or different surface features of the moon. The satellite passes by and sends a light beam (a bounced kickball to the surface). A recorder measures the time it takes the signal (the bounced ball) to return to the satellite. This represents using LIDAR to map the surface of the moon. LIDAR refers to Light Detection and Ranging, a remote sensing system used to collect topographic data. Students plot the timed data and connect the points to get a sense of the surface of the moon and how LIDAR is used. This is one of the missions of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a lunar orbiting satellite scheduled to launch in February or March.

Friday's hookup will take place in the center's Discovery Center. The test is part of a two-day DLN workshop at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. The program's designers are aiming to have the activity available through the DLN by Sept. 1. To sign up, visit the Digital Learning Network website.

"Our Girl Scouts troop is a robotics team, so the WALL-E and EVE robots were of special interest to them," Cummings said.

Educators also are welcome to sign up for the Robotics Workshop for Educators and Youth Group Leaders set for Sept. 13 at the Center for Educational Technologies. Visit the robotics website for details.