The fifth graders at St. Mary Catholic School in Crown Point recently went to the Challenger Learning Center in Hammond. The students had spent the last several weeks studying and learning about outer space, comets, asteroids, meteors and working as a team. The fifth graders were split into groups. One set of students participated in a Space Simulation Mission. The other worked in a Living in Space Lab and watched a Planetarium show about how a future mission to the moon is a stepping stone to Mars.
The students in 5A started their day at the space mission simulation. They enjoyed working in the spacecraft and Mission Control. The main objective was to find Comet Encki, and both groups found Comets Crisman and Wildcat.
“My favorite part of this field trip was the spaceship. We all had to work together to solve the problems” - Braelyn LaMere
The students enjoyed the “Living in Space” lab. During this lab, the students predicted a marshmallow and shaving cream if they were in a vacuum-sealed container. The kids loved making suits for potato astronauts.
“I enjoyed the lab that we did there. We tried to save our potato astronaut by making it a space suit with aluminum foil and paper. We all loved eating the dried bananas. They were good.” - Lasean Walker
During the planetarium show, the kids learned that an advantage of using the moon as a steppingstone to Mars is its proximity to Earth. A crewed mission can reach the moon in three days, but a mission straight from the Earth to Mars would take at least seven months. Many students were interested that NASA has yet to send astronauts to the Moon since the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972. NASA is scheduled to send a four-person crew to circle the Moon in November of 2024, and NASA is not planning on landing on the Moon until sometime in 2025. This will be humanity’s first return to the lunar surface in over five decades and the first time humans will explore the South Pole region of the Moon.
“I loved watching the movie in the planetarium. It was so realistic. I think it is neat we are getting closer to being able to land on Mars,” said Genevieve Abad.
Jacob Trinidad and Margaret Cappas