McElwain Elementary students work as a team in 'space'

Friday, June 3, 2016 - 1:12pm

Students gain valuable life-skills at the Challenger Learning Center

Fifth grade students from McElwain Elementary took part in a Challenger Space Mission “traveling through space” and gaining valuable life-skills along the way. On May 18, 2016, with the Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs, students worked together to overcome challenges and complete a successful space mission. The day of experience was only one part of the journey. The students participated in a month-long preparation phase, learning and practicing the necessary skills to complete the mission.

Over four weeks and 10 preparatory lessons, Ms. Guadalupe Loredo-Rangel’s fifth grade class worked as a strong team and supported each other along the way. The lessons included practice with multiple step equations, plotting points on a coordinate graph, decoding, listening to directions and learning about the solar system they would be “traveling through” to find the lost space ship. After completing the lessons, the students were well-prepared for the mission ahead.

Mission day finally arrived and the students were divided into teams of 4-5 members. The goal of the day was to successfully complete the following scenario:

A spaceship is lost in space and the Steggie Mission Team’s job is to use tracking data to find it and rescue the team with provisions.

Each student had an important role on their team. Students were decoding, plotting points, reading, recording and analyzing data, calculating food rations for the trip to and from the lost ship and communicating with their team members when they needed support. Commander McGee oversaw the mission offering words of encouragement and assistance when needed.

At the end of the day the students completed the Challenger Space Mission. They credit their success to clear communication, strong teamwork and a focus on time-management. They faced challenges along the way, but worked together to solve hard calculations and fix mistakes. Students didn’t just “travel through space”, they walked away with important life-skills including the importance of communication, team work and perseverance.