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An out of this world science lesson

Staff writers
March 12, 2013 — Science class is rocketing to a whole new level at Bert Church High School in Airdrie, Alberta this week as students check in with Chris Hadfield at the International Space Station.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield signed in from space Monday
Astronaut Chris Hadfield signed in from space Monday

In a gymnasium filled with around 1000 students, staff and community members, astronaut Chris Hadfield signed in from space Monday.

"Greetings and welcome aboard the International Space Station," said Hadfield to an enthusiastic group.

Hadfield talked directly with the teens, answering their questions about what life is like while orbiting Earth.†

"You can just float and turn and tumble and do a thousand somersaults, and you can do an interview with students in Airdrie, Alberta sideways if you want," he laughed.†

Grade 9 teacher Lindsay Rous helped her school get selected for the chat.†

"I was astonished and I went running down the hall because I had to tell all the other science teachers," she said when they were chosen for the chat.

Hadfield enjoys maple cookies in space
Hadfield enjoys maple cookies in space

The chat was an added bonus for the 95 students at Bert Church who are working on a science experiment with Hadfield.†

Other students across the country are also joining in as they measure neutron radiation and compare findings with Hadfield at the ISS.

The experiment is coordinated by Letís Talk Science, a national organization that works to engage students in science, math and engineering.

"Science is in all parts of our lives, from weather to everything we do every day. So itís really important to get them more engaged in things that are relevant to their own lives," says Bonnie Schmidt, President of Letís Talk Science.

Former Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Bob Thirsk says, the experiment is a Canadian success story as it was developed in Canada and is now used all over the world.†

He adds that students being able to chat with Hadfield definitely helps the cause.†

"The space program is a good way to grab young people's attention and then once you have their attention you can teach them a lot of science and math and technology."†

In January, students of Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, Nova Scotia enjoyed a similar phone call from Hadfield.†

The chat on Monday however, was the last public talk Hadfield will give before officially taking over the commander role on the Space Station.

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