This year, due to the COVID virus, the fifth graders at St. Mary’s School in Crown Point were not able to attend the Virtual Challenger in Hammond, IN. Instead, they were a part of something completely new and different. The students used the knowledge they gained from the pandemic, to work remotely to complete a space mission.
In February, the students were able to take part in a virtual mission to Europa. Europa is one of Jupiter’s moons. They spent about four weeks getting ready for their mission, learning many different things about this ice-covered moon.
On the day of the mission, the students used their imaginations to pretend it was the year 2042. By that year, astronauts had traveled from Earth to Jupiter in a space station equipped with a vehicle that would travel to Jupiter’s moon of Europa to launch a probe into the ice moon. The goal was to dive deep into the massive water ocean underneath the ice sheets that were studied by the Europa Clipper sometime in the 2020s.
The students, both in-person and romote-learning, each received a task. The class needed to complete several task cards to complete their mission and to find out if there might be a possibility of life under all that ice. Both fifth-grade classes had a successful mission. They found that life would be supported deep down on Europa’s ocean floor.
Overall, the students really enjoyed this experience. The Challenger program did a fantastic job putting together this virtual mission. “The field trip was so cool! The mission felt so realistic. I wish we could do it next year, too,” said Marissa Durko.
St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point offers grade levels Junior Pre-Kindergarten (for three-year-olds) through grade eight. St. Mary’s faculty teaches a rich curriculum supported by cutting-edge technology. Faith, Academic Excellence, Life Lessons, and Compassion are the pillars of the school. Students in all grades are provided with opportunities for fun projects and activities to make learning interesting and relevant. St. Mary’s is currently accepting applications for new students for the 2021-2022 school year. To learn more about St. Mary School’s visit stmarycp.org/school