It takes a village to raise a child astronaut.
With support from the families and help from the community, Anderson elementary teacher Glyn Davies was able to create 30 of them, setting up camp at Aberdeen Centre for education week until March 3.
The “Aberdeen International Space Station” is a way for his Grade 6/7 split class to take their research from theory to practice, while imparting their knowledge to the community.
“We’re taking it to the next step,” said Davies, who does an interactive project like this one each term. “The students get so engaged and excited about them. It’s not me, I only enable them.”
The class spent Monday afternoon setting up their space station — a black tent-like structure with a “Hall of Space Heroes” along the outside using images of Neil Armstrong, Roberta Bondar and Marc Garneau, as well as Ham (the chimpanzee) and Buzz Lightyear, of course.
Step inside and see the entire solar system in glow-in-the-dark papier-mâché, complete with Saturn’s rings and Curiosity on Mars.
It’s bustling with the excited chatter of several small astronauts, adding final touches to the station and explaining the project to those who enter.
“It’s something you dream about doing,” said 12-year-old Vivian Yan in Grade 7. “And now we get to bring all our research and work to life.”
Vivian, along with her classmates, dress in orange astronaut jumpsuits and give mall-goers guided tours of their space station, providing facts about the solar system.
“It’s an amazing project,” said Christina Yang, 12, also in Grade 7. “Building needs a lot of thinking, it’s not just putting pieces together. We have to follow instructions and learn, and we have to fix the problems that occur.”
Davies has each student choose a role to play on the project and engages them in a story, such as, being astronaut tour guides or playing detective in an Egyptian museum crime scene, as was the case a couple of years ago.
The students first set up the station at Anderson, and then moved it to Aberdeen for education week, which the Richmond School District has been celebrating for the past 10 years.
“It’s a great way to showcase public education and raise awareness about the kinds of things we’re doing,” said Victor Tang, district communications and marketing manager.
“The schools are the main drivers of the events and they get pretty excited about it.”
Monday’s kick off featured performances by Richmond youth including the hip hop dance troupe iHeart and singing by Palmer secondary student Monica Tang.
Throughout the week, the space exhibit will be on display along with art from various elementary and high schools. Other events include a Fine Arts Fair (today) and a Career Programs Expo (Thursday).
“Public education incorporates kids at all different levels of ability and learning styles,” said Davies.
“They have the opportunity to plug in at their level. What’s exciting [about this project] is each child is fully engaged and excited and motivated, as their families and members of the community, so it’s a big celebration of public education.”
For event information, visit www.aberdeencentre.com.