US teacher to hold class in airplane above Greenland

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US Teacher To Hold Class In Airplane Above Greenland

COAL TOWNSHIP -- A teacher from the Shamokin area will soon be teaching her students from a classroom of a different kind: an airplane high above Greenland.

Kelly McCarthy teaches 11th-grade Physics at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School near Shamokin.

But soon this math and science teacher will be teaching her students from a classroom above the Arctic Circle.

McCarthy is one of 15 teachers chosen out of 300 by NASA and a group called PolarTREC to participate in an educational trip.

McCarthy will spend close to one month flying over Greenland, studying a model of the changing ice sheets.

"Every day that the weather is okay we'll be up in the plane for eight, nine hours and then we'll come back every night and have a science meeting," McCarthy explained.

The program is paid for by the National Science Foundation.

McCarthy will be spending almost the entire month in the airplane as part of the NASA program.

"Some days we'll be flying over the North Pole. Some days we'll be flying over the middle of Greenland."

One of the things McCarthy is looking forward to most about her trip is being able to communicate with her students while she's there.

"While we're in flight, I can chat with them using a text-based communication system. So I can say, 'hey, if you guys look at the satellite image right now, I'm flying over this part of Greenland,'" said McCarthy.

"I think it's really fun," said John Nguyen. "We all get to experience it with her."

When McCarthy comes back, she will be able to give the students lesson plans based on her experience.

"I think it's really great that she has the opportunity because she gets to share it with us, and so we kind of get the opportunity to learn what we can do when we get out of high school," said Olivia Giles.

And it's not only for McCarthy's students.

If your school would like to learn right along with her class, you can contact her atkmccarthy@lourdes.k12.pa.us

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