HPMS Principal Gets His Hands On Lunar Rocks

Highland Park Middle School principal Chris Miller is planning for a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) night that’s out of this world: He’s planning to have moonrock and meteorite samples from NASA to show.

The March 8 STEAM night will likely include both rock and dust from various parts of the moon’s surface, as well as meteorite samples with information about their origins.

“I’m guessing, when we have that in March, no one in the North Texas area will have those samples, so we’ll be probably one of the only games in town for that,” Miller said. “(The students) kind of don’t believe (the samples) are real at first, and then just (ask) all kinds of questions… It’s a great opportunity for science teachers.”

He said he hopes the STEAM night will be open to each classroom as well.

“Every classroom will be looking through the lens whether it be creative writing looking at Texas history and Texas’ impact to the space program, or national history,” Miller said. “U.S. history classes will be looking at the space race between Russia and the U.S.

“It’s going to be really neat that we kind of just hijack everybody’s curriculum for a couple of days,” said Miller, sounding like the former science teacher who participated in training with a NASA mentor at the Johnson Space Center on how to handle the samples.

“For my last few summers of being a science teacher here, I worked with NASA on zero gravity, the LiftOff program,” he said.

Security training was vital, Miller said.“If you lose someone’s diamond rings, you can go buy them another diamond ring, but if you lose someone’s moon rock, you really can’t go get them.”

He’s hoping more teachers can participate in the weeklong training at Johnson Space Center soon.

The training at Johnson Space Center features everything from learning how to handle lunar and meteorite samples to working with engineers and networking with other math and science teachers from across the region.

“It’s exciting to see teachers come back. I’ve had other teachers certified and also go to these different LiftOff trainings at NASA at my previous districts where I was a principal, and they just come back, and they’re supercharged,” Miller said. “They’re so fired up about teaching science.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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