Fuqua students create an extraordinary project
Posted 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 5, 2022
While many children only dream of becoming astronauts, some fifth-graders at Fuqua School are learning how to make that a reality.
The Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) classes for primary and secondary schools at Fuqua School take a trip to the stars. This program for the first trimester is “30 Days Lost in Space”, which allows students from kindergarten to eighth grade to learn how to get to Mars.
As more hands-on learners, the fifth grade class creates space vehicles from recycled materials in the classroom. Using duct tape, tinfoil, old mustard bottles and other handy supplies, the class builds rockets, rovers and other space vehicles that could one day lead to a trip to Mars.
“This project taught students how to challenge themselves and think freely about ideas,” said Kathyrn Jefferson, STEAM teacher at Fuqua. “Sometimes they have crazy ideas and they kind of figure out how to make it work, even if it seems too far-fetched. It also gives them a chance to be team leaders, while learning that everyone everyone can’t be the team leader.”
Students don’t just create a compilation of materials that look like a spaceship. They also learn what their specific vehicle would need for a successful trip to Mars. They discover the landing gear the vehicles will need, as well as other factors such as the need for drag so their creations don’t simply crash into the planet.
Learn from astronauts
Students will name their project and describe the features of the spacecraft and what the specific mission entails for their creation. They will also use this information in their technology class to write a story or create a Google Slide presentation.
“I see this project as an English class draft,” Jefferson said. “We get all the ideas, but it’s not the final design of anything.”
In addition to learning how real space vehicles work, students will hear from real astronauts and others in the STEAM field. The students spoke with astronauts and a neuroscientist to learn more about these professions that are not always highlighted. Students also learn about typical careers, but it gives them the chance to learn something different.
Once the projects are complete and presented, students will carefully disassemble their spacecraft to reuse the materials for future projects.
“This is a great opportunity for students to think outside the box,” said Dara Tucker, Fuqua Elementary and Secondary Schools Principal. “I love seeing how excited they are and the pride they take in their work. They take great pride in showing you their project and explaining what it does.