As a culminating experience to their science studies, sixth grade students worked together to investigate what it takes to live on the moon. Throughout the investigation, which took place from June 14-21, they discovered how to supply water, food and air to the moon before building their own models of possible lunar colonies.
“It’s a great way to end the year,” said teacher Julia Brogan, who oversaw the projects along with fellow teacher Christopher Lockwood. “The students used tape, playdough and Popsicle sticks to make something out of nothing.”
Having learned about solar power and how to sustain life, each class created one colony together, with small groups of students taking on the responsibility of creating different aspects of the build, using recycled materials from school and items they brought from home. The student-created colonies featured living quarters, workspaces, food supplies, breathable air, water filtration systems, solar power supplies, thermal protection, transportation, communication, and waste and medical facilities, among others.
Brogan said she was impressed by the students’ creativity and knowledge and the variety of projects put on display for parents at the end of the week. In addition to Brogan and Lockwood, teachers Elizabeth Fleisig, Rachel Sugarman, Dan Tocci and Jason Wofsey and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mara Koetke were instrumental in the success of the lunar colonies experience.
As a way of kicking off the project, the students went on a field trip see Apollo 13 in theaters before creating an air filter out of a variety of materials in their classrooms. To make a deeper connection to their studies, they also went on a field trip to the Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Learning Center in Airmont, where they took on the roles of astronauts. During their visit, they participated in a variety of hands-on simulation activities, went on mock space missions and learned how to make rockets using straws.
The weeklong learning experience – which was part of an i2 Learning program that introduces students to the engineering design process and challenges them to think critically and solve problems – allowed the students to collaborate and meet the challenges they were presented with.