Fuqua students create an out-of-this-world project

Published 7:30 am Thursday, October 6, 2022

FARMVILLE – While many kids only dream about becoming an astronaut, some fifth grade students at Fuqua School are learning about how they can turn that into a reality. 

The Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) classes for the lower and middle schools at Fuqua School are taking a trip to the stars. This curriculum for the first quarter is “30 Days Lost in Space”, which has students from kindergarten through eighth grade learning about how to get to Mars. 

Being more hands-on learners, the fifth-grade class is creating space vehicles out of recycled materials in the classroom. Using tape, aluminum foil, old mustard bottles and other supplies on hand, the class is making rockets, rovers and other space vehicles that could one day lead a trip to Mars. 

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“This project has allowed the students to learn how to challenge themselves and freely think of ideas,” said Kathyrn Jefferson, the STEAM teacher at Fuqua. “Sometimes they have some crazy ideas and they somehow figure out how to make it work, even if it seems too far-fetched. This also gives them a chance to be team leaders, while also learning that not everyone can be the team leader.” 

The students aren’t just creating a compilation of materials that look like a spacecraft. They’re also learning about what their specific vehicle would need to successfully take a trip to Mars. They learn about the landing gear the vehicles will need, along with other factors like the need for drag so that their creations don’t just crash into the planet.

Learning from astronauts at Fuqua School

The students will give their project a name as well as 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 like a rough draft in English class,” said Jefferson. “We’re getting all the ideas down but it’s not the final design of anything.”

Along with learning how real space vehicles work, students will hear from actual astronauts and others in the STEAM field. The students have talked to astronauts and a neuroscientist to learn more about these jobs that are not always highlighted. The students also learn about typical careers but this gives them a chance to learn about something different. 

After the projects are done and presented, the students will carefully disassemble their spacecraft to reuse the materials for future projects.  

“This is a great chance for the students to think outside the box,” said Dara Tucker, head of lower and middle schools of Fuqua. “I love seeing how excited they are and the pride they take in their work. They are very proud to show you their project and explain what it does.”