Jefferson Middle School sixth graders used their creativity and science skills to develop models of the Solar System. Students were encouraged to use items already in their homes, including coat hangers, old slabs of wood, Play-doh and just old-fashioned art skills. In addition to the art project, students also researched one planet in the Solar System and completed a paper that was presented to the entire sixth grade team. Space science comprises a large portion of the sixth grade science curriculum. Teachers cover topics ranging from the Earth-Moon-Sun relationship to the entire Solar System (planets, asteroids, comets) to stars and galaxies.
“I was really pleased with the products the students created,” said Jefferson Middle School sixth grade teacher, Erin Knapp. “They absolutely love creating anything hands-on, so we really try to incorporate as many activities as possible as learning through doing is such a great part of science.”
As a special field trip, all JPS sixth graders visit the Challenger Center in Olean, NY, where students partake in the simulation of working in a spacecraft and ground control to launch a probe into a passing comet. They not only have to use their knowledge of math and science, but also have to work together as a team. When “working” in the various jobs, they realize just how important effective communication and interpersonal social skills are. Teachers end the space unit in June by having students build and launch their own rockets, which they take home.