Elementary students are learning to explore space through math and physics, as the logistics of space travel means needing to transport people and supplies.
Students in Annette Carroll’s class are learning Newton’s Laws of Motion, a review to prepare for the day’s project. Carroll reminds them that an object in motion will stay in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force. She continues and mentions that the United States is working on missions to Mars. “We know that that’s coming. We know that’s our plan.”
The assignment, to design and build a prototype hovercraft using knowledge of Newton’s laws would be familiar to high school physics students. But these are fifth and sixth graders. And many of them are planning to go to space camp.
On this particular day, students gathered in groups, sketching out their plans. Only a few supplies were provided, and they set about experimenting how they would use those to build a hovercraft.