Ryan Elementary School

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Location: Lafayette, CO 80026
Telescope: James Webb Space Telescope
Project type: Research / Communication
Project status: Completed



Ryan Elementary School researched the capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope, specifically the primary mirror. The students constructed mirror segments which they combined together in order to gather enough light to melt chocolate.

Teacher testimonial

My groups of 4th graders learned about light by watching animations and researching the electromagnetic spectrum. We were interested in the shape of mirrors and the James Webb Space Telescope. The point that I wanted to get across was that we can use many individual reflectors to gather waves like one giant mirror, just like the JWST.

To illustrate the power of combining many mirrors like the Webb telescope will do, my students coated cardboard hexagons with aluminum foil. We went outside where I gave them Hersey’s Kisses and told them to try to melt them with the reflections from the sun.
— Mark Appling, Ryan Elementary School

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