Areas of Study

To Infinity and Beyond!

As NASA knows, space exploration is no easy task, but Jaime Katz and Carolina Rodriguez's Kindergarten students are determined to know as much as they can on the subject of space. Taking on the challenge, they began by investigating questions such as How do you become an astronaut? How do you go to space? Can I go to space? Jaime quickly realized the opportunities for learning more on the topic are endless, and she capitalized on every chance she had to integrate different subjects into her lessons.
Questions Spark Further Exploration
Obviously, science led many discussions as the children sought to answer additional questions such as What are planets made of? How do they move? What makes a star? After studying the solar system, they created their own—complete with asteroids, stars, and comets—with the help of Art Teacher Loriann Signori. They used materials representative of minerals and gasses for each solar object. Planets composed of rock were made with clay; others composed of gasses were made with tissue paper.
The Engineering Design Process and Building a Spaceship
In order to realize the students’ vision of building a spaceship, Jaime and Loriann enlisted the help of Suzanne Chernauskas, a Lowell parent with building experience who guided the engineering process. Students referenced drawings they made of rockets from a visit to the Air and Space museum in creating their blueprint. They were sure to include everything down to the details of each control panel. Director of Technology Artur Morka helped the class load an iPad with the sounds a rocket makes during blast-off and while in flight. It will be installed this week as the final touch.
So Much More to Learn!
Lessons continue to multiply, covering health, math, science, dance, technology, art, and engineering. “I’ve never seen kids so excited to do jumping jacks,” she reflects on a health lesson on astronaut training. “Their interest has been consistent. There isn’t a week that goes by without them having a question or mentioning something they learned about space,” Jaime says. “It’s been really cool to see their joy in it.”
In math class students measured each other to see if anyone met the minimum requirement of 5’ 2” to be an astronaut. Once every student had their turn, they were curious to see if Jaime could make the cut. As they measured her, the excitement grew. Jumping up and down, they exclaimed, “Jaime, you can go to space!” She laughs, “I think there are a few others things I need before I go to space.”
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