Space Lab Flight Director, Pam Moe, at Franklin Elementary School took sixth graders on their first mission to space! The Space Lab is a computer program where students participate in space missions to reinforce what they learned in their science curriculum. Moe hopes that by using this lab, students will be motivated to pay attention in class and retain what they are being taught. All students, not just sixth graders, will have the opportunity to participate in flying a mission in the Space Lab once a month for the rest of the year. “Most of the students are excited for the experience,” says Moe.

For the first mission, Franklin sixth graders traveled back in time so they could observe the phases of the moon over a period of one month. However, something happened to the time travel machinery and it sent the crew back to 1633, when Galileo was about to go on trial for heresy.

Galileo was the first person to observe the different phases of the moon. By so doing, he figured out that the earth was not the center of universe. Along with Galileo, the students observed the phases of the moon and the relationship the earth has with the moon and sun. It was a unique experience for our students to visually walk with Galileo through the learning process.

However, every crew needs a captain. Each crew that goes to the Space Lab is assigned a position, such as Captain, First Officer, Pilot, Science Officer, Communications Officer, Security, Medical Personnel, etc. Along the journey, the computer gives each person different assignments that need to be completed in order for the mission to be successful. Depending on how well the students have learned the science curriculum determines whether the mission is successful or if it crashes and burns. Occasionally during these missions, the crew will encounter hostile aliens and do battle with them. Or, the crew might be called to rescue aliens or other people in need.

The Space Lab is a unique way for our Franklin Elementary students to learn and grow as they encounter new concepts and lessons. We are excited for each grade to participate and learn from the Space Lab, since each mission will be tailored to the specific grade that is participating. Students are more excited than ever to learn about the universe, and Flight Director Moe can’t wait to show them!

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