NASA Explorer Schools teacher Vin Urbanowski wanted to plan something exciting for a substitute teacher to use. He decided to use the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Linear Regression: Exploring Space Through Math — Space Shuttle Ascent. Urbanowski planned this as an independent project and instructed students to create computer presentations for him to review when he returned to class the following day. This seemed to be a good way to ensure that students did the work.
Upon viewing the student presentations, Urbanowski came up with several conclusions about the activity. He found that his students worked hard independently because they were genuinely interested in the topic. He also noted that breaking the lesson into two days — one for the work and one for presentations –- promoted responsibility and created an opportunity for students to defend their work. After completing the presentations, the students were thrilled to find out that they had actually learned some calculus.