In the weeks leading up to the successful landing of the NASA rover , Perseverance , on Mars , fifth graders at Carnegie Elementary in the Carlynton School District explored , researched and developed their own space rovers in the classroom and then launched them on a simulated surface of the red planet .
Virtual Family Nights provide group connection
Now more than ever , family well-being is a top priority among parents . Held on the first Wednesday of each month , virtual Family Nights revolve around family well-being , and are hosted by the Family to Family Initiative , a cooperative program of Bristol Township School District , Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services , and Family Service Association of Bucks County .
Prior to COVID-19 , each Family Night featured three components : an educational presentation , parent-child interaction such as an activity or game , and a focus on child development . Food was also provided for the convenience of parents attending right after work . Once COVID-19 hit , Family Nights moved to Facebook Live and adjusted the structure for a virtual format . These online sessions featured an interactive discussion with special guests , and viewers were encouraged to enter comments and questions in the chat .
As part of a multi-tiered assignment , students were challenged to design a shock-absorbing system that would contain and protect two “ astronauts ,” or marshmallows , when the crafts landed or were dropped from a standing position to a hard surface . Students used materials such as paper cups , plastic straws , tape , index cards and stiff paper to design the rovers . Launch day was held on February 16 as students attempted to safely land their space crafts .
While students counted down the days to landing of Perseverance on Mars , they read articles about space , science and technology , created a Mars Lander video game using Scratch Studio , studied all aspects of the red planet , prepared a written narrative and participated in a crater modeling activity . The assignment covered all components of the fifth grade curriculum : math , technology , science , English / language arts and even social studies as the youngsters studied the history of past NASA space expeditions .
Due to the challenges of the pandemic , the district requested a four-part summer series from Family Service to provide parents and guardians with extra support . Then starting in September , the monthly Family Nights began , which featured themes that include managing stress and fatigue , engaging children in activities , self-defense and personal safety , and financial literacy .
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