Print edition: 5th grade goes on out-of-this-world trip

RAMAPO, N.Y. — Colonial’s fifth grade classes traveled to the Challenger Learning Center on May 4. The Challenger Center uses kids’ enthusiasm about space to get them to solve problems in creative ways, build teamwork and communication, and improve decision making skills.

The Challenger Center uses STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to help kids learn.

According to the center’s website, “Challenger Learning Center is not just a simulated space trip — it’s an interactive learning experience that engages children and adults and allows them to perform the same ‘hands-on’ tasks that are done by real scientists, engineers, researchers and astronauts.”

Students were in two groups, one mission control and the other spacecraft. Everyone who was on the spacecraft went into spacecraft simulators, entering through airlocks, wearing “spacesuits” and conducting experiments.

The group in mission control sent emails to the spacecraft and watched them through a camera.

It was a great trip and felt like an out-of-this-world experience.

“It was really fun because we got to experience what astronauts do for the first time,” Rowan Proffitt (5V) said.

Here is what some of the other Colonials astronauts thought about their mission to send a probe to the moon at Challenger Center.

Ava Pedorella (5M) said, “The Challenger was fun, but some kids weren’t paying as much attention as others, so that made it not as fun for everyone else. Although I think it was a great trip, and the fourth graders will enjoy it next year.”

“It was really fun because I got to see if there was going to be any meteor showers, and spacecraft and mission control got to work together to make sure the spacecraft was landing or taking off ok,” said Andrew Kelly (5M).

Greta Fear (5M) said, “I thought it was really cool to experience being in a spacecraft for the first time.”

“On a typical mission participants are divided into two groups, with half assigned to the mission sontrol simulator while the others are transported to the spacecraft to become ‘astronauts,'” said the Challenger Center website. “At the mission’s midpoint, the teams exchange places so every participant can experience both learning environments.”

Teachers of the Colonial fifth grade classes agreed the the Challenger Center was a fun and interesting field trip that a lot of kids liked.