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Grade 3: “Astronauts” Study Mars

After exploring the challenges of living in space, third graders had a better understanding of the science behind space stations.
With Mr. Eddie, an educator/performer with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, students worked on activities designed to get children thinking about space as they collaborate and communicate to complete tasks similar to what an astronaut would do.

One activity was to repair solar panels that power the space station by collecting energy from the sun. “Astronauts” donned helmets, vests and gloves that reminded them it takes special equipment to survive in outer space. If the solar pieces were assembled in the correct order and sequence, a line of lights illuminated. Many found it useful to exercise perseverance as they tried more than once to get the pieces aligned correctly. Working with the bulky gloves on was also a challenge, according to Francesca Noguera (3).

At another table, scientists programmed “Rovers” to travel a designated path across the surface of Mars. In space, these vehicles are used to collect data remotely and are an important tool for astronauts. Students also worked on a puzzle to simulate the use of air ducts to keep oxygen flowing throughout the space station. They used their critical thinking skills to determine which areas of the station were most essential to sustain human life. 

“I really want to be an astronaut when I grow up,” said Sarah Skinner (3). She also commented that space work is “very complicated.”

Finally, scientists made their own patches (buttons) to recognize their mission in space. The educational event was organized by science teacher, Michelle Benge, during her unit on astronomy. Nicely done, third graders! 

Read more about Michelle Benge here!

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.