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[i]On an ordinary school day at Tommie Barfield Elementary (TBE), via a UPS delivery, an extraordinary piece of history was delivered.
After opening the package from Capital Exhibits Services, fifth grade students of Mabel Pena's science class gathered around a shrink-wrapped tile. With wonderment, they gazed at the small white tile thinking about its long journey into space as one of 24,000 other thermal protection system tiles from one of five different NASA space shuttles. It will reside at TBE permanently.
Credit: Marco Eagle
"It is so cool to think that the tile actually came from a shuttle," said student Mariana Ruiz-Vallejo...
Plans are to display the tile in a sealed Plexiglas box along with a model of a space shuttle...
"We just finished a unit on earth and space science and just began studying thermal energy, force and motion and the different types of solar energy, so the special delivery fit right into our lessons. We are talking about insulators, conductors and how the tiles are used as insulation on the shuttles as they reenter the atmosphere. The tiles keep the heat out and prevent the shuttle from blowing up," said Pena of the lessons developed in conjunction with the tile.
As a class project, the students are now thinking of materials suitable for making small replicas of the tile, she explained.[/i]
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