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Bronxville Union Free School District

Sixth-Graders Take On Mock Space Missions at Challenger Learning Center

Sixth-grade students at Bronxville Middle School took on the roles of astronauts, biologists, scientists, navigators and engineers during a recent field trip to the Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Learning Center in Airmont.

As part of their visit, the students participated in a variety of hands-on simulation activities and mock space missions. One team participated in Mission Control, for which they performed daily missions from Phobos, which is one of the two Martian moons, to the surface of Mars during the year 2076. Another team participated in the Mars Transport Vehicle mission, for which they conducted research and navigated their teammates in the vehicle.  

The sixth-graders applied their math, science, critical thinking, teamwork and communication skills in order to solve a number of problems during their missions. They had to deal with an asteroid heading toward Phobos, measure the characteristics of objects near Mars and Phobos, examine Martian rocks and minerals, build a remotely operated vehicle, and calculate and plot the course for the spacecraft to navigate to Mars.

“Communication skills were critical because the ROV crew in Mission Control were instructing the ROV crew in the spacecraft how to build it via a headset and a live video feed,” science teacher Frank Viggiani said. “When one of my students was about to start the mission, he said that this was one of the most exciting moments in his life.”

Bronxville Middle School teachers have been taking their students on mock space missions at the Challenger Learning Center for 12 years. In order to participate in the missions, students filled out job applications, wrote persuasive letters and attached them to their resumes.

  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image