The Far Brook Sixth Grade class traveled to the Buehler
Challenger and Science Center in Paramus, NJ, on April 5, a Sixth Grade
tradition for many years. The students’ eye-opening mission was to complete a
“Voyage to Mars” in the year 2076, replacing an existing crew which had manned
Mars Control for the last two years. Our Sixth Graders became the actual
voyagers, filling the roles of navigators, communications experts and data
collectors, just to name a few. The “voyagers” spent time in both mission
control and a simulated space craft, solving problems they might encounter on a
real mission, through teamwork and insight.
In preparation for the mission, students made scale models of
the solar system (1 cm = 10 million miles), learning about foundational physics
principles and applying them to planets’ orbits, and using physics principles
to make and launch baking soda and vinegar rockets. The students even “applied”
for their jobs on the mission, writing about their “qualifications” for the
position of their choice.
The Buehler Challenger and Science Center was founded in
1994, named after the tragic space shuttle accident in 1986. Its mission is to
inspire students, educators, and the community in the pursuit of scientific
education, to ignite curiosity and excitement through innovative programs and
to initiate experiential activities in math, science, and technology.
Photo courtesy of Peter Wagner