The Truth About UFOs Is Here, And American Students Are Trying To Uncover It | Education in the United States


David Black once saw a UFO.

At least that’s how he catches the attention of his students before revealing that it was just a sundog – a bright light caused when the sun’s rays refract through the ice crystals in the atmosphere.

Researching more famous accounts of UFO sightings and allegedly alien abductions with students is how the science professor will spend the summer. And with the federal government‘s report on “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” – or PAN – due to be released in the coming weeks, they will have new grainy videos to analyze and debate.

When Donald Trump signed a $ 2.3 billion fundraising bill in December, educators were looking at the $ 54 billion in relief funds included for the reopening of schools. But in over 5,500 pages of legislation was one sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio disposition lead naval intelligence to find out what they followed in the sky. The bill called for detailed reports on NAPs and whether “a potential adversary could have achieved revolutionary aerospace capabilities” that could harm Earth, or at least the United States. The report, combined with the navy pilots recent accounts planes displaying unusual movements provide fresh material for teachers who find questions about extraterrestrial visitors a great way to engage students in science.

According to the New York Times, senior officials in the Biden administration briefed on the report were told that intelligence authorities had found no evidence that the strange movements were alien spaceships – but they apparently did not rule it out. .

The report’s upcoming release is perfectly timed for the alien intelligence research unit that Black teaches each summer at New Haven School, a private girls’ boarding school in Saratoga Springs, Utah. It hooks students up with stories of close encounters and uses hands-on projects and 3D models to explore the math and physics involved in the journey of aliens for tens of thousands of years to reach Earth.

His students learn the Drake’s equation, a formula for the probability of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. They read reports on alleged sightings – as a par Travis Walton, a lumberjack whose 1975 account of alien abduction was featured in the 1993 film Fire in the Sky. Then they present the skeptics’ point of view, offer their own opinions and lead a discussion with their fellow students.

UFO conspiracy theories teach students to be open-minded, “but also to have a skeptical filter,” said Jeff Adkins, a professor of astronomy at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif., near Oakland.

He asks students to consider the size of the universe when deciding whether alien life forms would bother performing experiments on humans or jamming the military’s radar systems.

“I still have a childhood fascination with aliens,” said Dennis Gavrilenko, a senior in Adkins’ astronomy and space exploration course this year. But Gavrilenko adds that he is now waiting “for solid evidence to support the aliens before he truly believes they are real.”

Physics professor Kevin Knuth at Albany University in New York City thinks there is something – or someone – watching us from above. He is one of the UFO researchers who shared their expertise with high school students.

His suspicions began while he was a student at Montana State University. In 1988, two cows from a nearby herd were mutilated with surgical precision, and a professor mentioned that UFOs often interfered with nuclear missile systems at Malmstrom Air Base three hours away.

Years later, a UFO researcher Robert hastings held a press conference with air force officers on the events in Malmstrom. It was then that Knuth became convinced. He thinks the report to Congress will only tell part of the story.

“We now know that the government has been studying these things for decades and not telling anyone about them,” Knuth said.

An article co-authored by Knuth in 2019 focuses on well documented observations “unidentified aerial vehicles” that display “technical capabilities far exceeding those of our fastest planes and spacecraft”.

Knuth’s speed and acceleration calculations are also good physics issues in high school, said Berkil Alexander, who teaches at Kennesaw Mountain High School near Atlanta. His fascination with UFOs began when he saw Flight of the Navigator, a 1986 film about an alien abduction.

In the last days of each school year, it hosts a Symposium on Alien Exoplanets in which teams of students, assuming the roles of astronomer, astrobiologist, historian and Pentagon investigator, s’ compete to present a case using the evidence they have gathered. .

Alexander believes the truth has been hidden for decades because it could cause panic. But now, he thinks, “people are pretty well prepared to handle anything.”

“The children are getting started”

Teachers who tackle UFOs might find a place for the topic when they introduce students to the solar system in elementary school. Space science is getting even more attention in college.

At Coles Elementary School in Prince William County Schools in Virginia, aliens showed up at an after-school “cryptozoology club” in which students studied crop circles and interviewed a UFO researcher of Roswell, New Mexico – the site of an alleged UFO crash in 1947.

How to report a UFO sighting and whether there are alien babies are among the questions students asked experts, said Tara Hamner, one of three teachers who started the program four years ago. Like the other cryptids they study, including Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, she thinks the club is a fun way for students to learn how to collect evidence, assess online sources, and interact with people. scientists.

Professor Alec Johnson gave his Morgan County high school students an alien-themed chemistry lesson with foil hats. Photograph: Morgan County High School

In high school, stand-alone astronomy classes are not common and are usually offered as a a choice. But after Alec Johnson, a teacher at Morgan County High School in central Georgia, organized a school trip to observe the solar eclipse in 2017, his students requested a separate astronomy class. The possibility of extraterrestrial life is the topic they are most passionate about, perhaps because of the stereotype that UFO sightings are more common in rural areas like theirs.

“The kids are getting on with it, especially if you don’t take sides,” Johnson said, adding that he was eager to share never-before-seen images and photos of the government’s report with his students.

Bennett Evans, a senior who took Johnson’s astronomy course this year, said his teacher’s enthusiasm for the subject rubbed off on the students.

“His class made me more aware of science in general,” Evans said, recalling an image Johnson uses to make students wonder if aliens exist. “If you take a glass of ocean water, we know there are whales in the ocean, but we can’t tell from that glass. It’s like our universe.

Georgia Science Standards require students to investigate whether there are other “habitable” areas and planets besides Earth. But Johnson goes all out, enhancing his lessons with The X-Files musical theme and classroom setting.

“Any self-respecting astronomy professor should have a Fox Mulder poster on the wall,” he said.

  • This report was first published by the 74, a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America

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