Students ‘Train like an Astronaut’ for Space Day

A Divine Mercy Catholic Academy student bounces in a ‘moon walking’ activity during Space Day. BREVARD COUNTY — Students of Divine Mercy Catholic Academy are preparing to launch into the future as the school hosted its fourth annual “Space Day.” This year’s theme of “Train like an Astronaut” focused on activities that revolved around the life of an astronaut – physical exercise, preparing for life in space, and diet. On Feb. 21, after a week-long anticipation for this exciting event, Space Day was kicked off by keynote presenter Andrew Allen, who flew three space shuttle missions. Mr. Allen brought space to life for students between pre-kindergarten and eighth grade, describing life as an astronaut working in orbit. He emphasized the importance of academics and answered the pressing questions of children awed by his accomplishments. “I think the biggest takeaway for students is space exploration isn’t just about launching rockets,” said Elizabeth Moore, DMCA science teacher. “Space exploration involves so many little parts, and in all those little parts there’s a place for my gifts and talents. Maybe I won’t be an astronaut but maybe I could work on rocket designs.” Students tested their stamina and wits by visiting different stations. Groups took their turns moving through agility courses or trying their hand at manipulating items while wearing space gloves. They also had an opportunity to try their moon-walking skills in the playground by bouncing in a harness that simulated the feeling of being in space. Teachers, parents and volunteer engineers from Kennedy Space Center facilitated activities throughout the day, assisting with projects such as rocket launches in the courtyard. Rockets were lifting off all day as students tested their own creations. The younger grades launched their rockets from stomping on inflated bottles, while older children pumped air into their launchers and pressed a button to watch them fly up. “I think the older kids enjoy doing something different,” Mrs. Moore said. “A lot of their parents do these jobs and it gives them insight into an exciting industry in Florida.” Divine Mercy Catholic Academy returned to its Space Day activities four years ago, after a hiatus. First grade teacher Stephanie Ring said she remembered the excitement of participating in Space Day when she attended the school as a student. Ms. Ring helped in the organization and planning of returning Space Day alongside second grade teacher Dani Donnelly and public relations Anna Moss. The revitalized event gives a more hands-on approach than students visiting information tables, such as when Ms. Ring attended school. “The first time they mentioned doing Space Day again I was like, ‘Yes!’ I wanted to help,” Ms. Ring said. “I remember it being a lot of fun. The students get really excited about it each year.” Who knows if Space Day may just inspire of these students to take training like an astronaut to the next level, and one of their names will be associated with the future of launching humans to Mars and beyond. For more information, visit www.dmccs.org .

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