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Students blast off and return safely from NASA voyage

“It was a new experience for everyone at the district,” Dr. Helena Mosely, Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Student Services, said. “The challenge was doing things that we have never done before—the learning curve was steep.”

Last week, the elementary school students, district staff and a few parents woke up before the sun rose to make the trek from Lancaster to NASA and its associated museum Space Center Houston. In all, 21 busses rolled out of LISD’s seven elementary schools and began the journey down Interstate 45.  Six hours and one rest stop later the caravan pulled-up to the front doors of Space Center Houston and the interactive learning began.

“I enjoyed the trip,” West Main Elementary School fifth grader Caleb League said. “NASA taught good lessons about space. I was very excited, because, who gets to do this on a normal school day?”

The students spent close to 5 ½ hours exploring the hands-on museum, taking tours and experiencing the museum’s 14 exhibits.

“The students experienced science on their own and explored with no boundaries,” Rosa Parks/Millbrook Elementary School Principal Marlon Waites said. “They ventured into an area of science they normally do not get to. Seeing this sort of science in action really put the students into a different mindset.”

The students appreciated the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Lancaster High School student Darian Thomas travelled with the elementary students as a photographer, helping document the entire trip for LISD.

“This trip was great for our elementary students because it was in a new surrounding with different people,” Lancaster High School student Darian Thomas said. “A trip such as this when I was in fourth or fifth grade would have really bolstered my interest in science.”

After a day full of interactive learning — and a dinner in the museum’s restaurant — the busses pulled out of NASA’s parking  and the tired, yet happy and satisfied, group of 4th and 5th graders returned to their school campuses late that evening.

This trip, however, is probably not the last large educational trip the district will plan.

“This was created by teachers — so the hope is this trip will inspire something bigger from another teacher or group of teachers for next time,” Dr. Mosely added.

Special Contributor: Richard Curtis

Student Photographer: Demetrius White