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Lincoln Trail Elementary School students took a look Thursday at what the Smithsonian Institute has to offer on the history of the United States’ space program, all without leaving the school’s media center.
Gifted and Talented program fifth-graders at Lincoln Trail Elementary School took part Thursday in a video-conference lecture with docents at the Smithsonian Institute discussing the history of NASA and spaceflight.
Three docents — museum personnel who provide information to visitors — with the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., took students through the history of NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
Students learned about the first astronauts in space, early experiments such as testing whether a person can swallow in zero gravity, and the moon walk.
During the talk, docents showed photos and models of shuttles and vehicles, and equipment displayed in the museum, such as a heat shield from the Apollo 11 mission.
Student Tristan Collins expressed fascination about space and looked forward to Thursday’s video conference.
“I was really excited about learning more about it,” Collins said.
Collins and student Amber Mercer were intrigued by the phases of a rocket launch, during which a rocket loses a number of pieces as it climbs through the atmosphere.
“And it didn’t explode,” Mercer noted with amazement.
Gifted and Talented teacher Carla D’Alessio has been working on bringing a video conference opportunity to students for about a year. She wanted students to have some kind of “electronic field trip,” and she and another faculty member worked to set up a session with the Smithsonian. The museum offered a video conference on NASA and the teachers deemed it suitable for their students.
She wanted students to have an opportunity to see a place they physically might not be able to visit.
“I want to make their learning come alive,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.