Rep. Terri Sewell brings NASA exhibit to Morris Elementary – Montgomery Advertiser
Grayson Taylor asks the kids if they know what’s in the pouch he’s holding. “Ice cream?” offers up one kid in response. It’s green beans, but Taylor says that he wishes it was ice cream.
The students at Thelma Smiley Morris Elementary School come out of their school on Friday morning and are told to line up by their teachers. Some look at the astronaut suit waiting for them. Others are antsy and dancing in their line.
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Taylor is an events coordinator with NASA. He told the kids about how long astronauts stay on the station (six months) and asked about what they think each food is (“Some astronauts really love their mac and cheese”). He’s from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The NASA Destination Station is an interactive NASA exhibit designed to get the public informed and excited about the International Space Station. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell brought the exhibit to Montgomery.
The kids take photos with their teachers, who put their heads through an astronaut suit. Then, they’ll either walk into the structure or visit Taylor’s station.
Inside the structure in the parking lot, kids line up against the wall. The carpeted walls and floor are dark blue. The screens inside talk about space exploration. The students line up against one side, some moving, others watching the video intently. They look at their friends.
At the end of the room, there’s a space rock for the kids to touch. The rock’s one of the only Apollo 17 moon rocks available to the public, according to the Thursday release.
As the kids walk out, they’re asked if they touched the rock
The kids at the school say that they’ve been interested in space before the event—they also say that they are planning to go to space.
First graders Casey and Bella answer questions in unison about their excitement about space. “Yes…” they both say when asked if they want to walk on the moon.
Principal Denitta Easterling explained that it’s important for the kids to get exposure to different careers, like astronaut. She mentioned her own son, who got exposure to science at a young age, and, now, in high school, he’s still interested.
Before that tour of the space center, NASA and cyber security were not interests of her son: “he wanted to be a teacher — but that’s all that’s what I said about exposure — because that’s all he saw were teachers,” she said.
“So, a love for science and math will open doors for them they never knew existed,” Easterling said about NASA coming.
Easterling spoke about how events like this NASA one and other aspects of STEAM (science, technology, art and math) education help equalize students, especially those students who may come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. She said, as soon as they can comprehend what it means, it’s important for students to get exposed to careers like being an astronaut or scientist, so that they know what it means “to just have the opportunity to go beyond the walls or that they live in.”
“Because the sky’s the limit for them,” Easterling said.
Jemma Stephenson is the children and education reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser. She can be reached at email@example.com or 334-261-1569.
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May 14, 2022 at 07:19AM