It's the same old story at schools everywhere. The year is coming to an end, and teachers are struggling to keep their students focused as attention spans shorten and thoughts turn to summer fun.
It's also the time of year for graduations, field days, and other milestone celebrations.
This year, decided to do something different for their fifth graders' class day. Last week, the entire fifth grade took a fun and entertaining field trip to the , and did some late-semester learning at the same time.
The 70 fifth graders celebrated their transition to middle school with a day of space-themed activities.
As he climbed off the bus at the Children's Museum, fifth grader Yahya Lodi said he was very excited to learn more about Mars. "I am looking forward to seeing how NASA is bringing the rover to Mars and how they are planning to retrieve the lost rover," Lodi said.
After posing for a class photo in front of Conny the whale (teacher Charlene Mancini got to be the "astronaut"), the students were treated to a special showing of Invaders of Mars in the Travelers Science Dome Planetarium.
The day also included a guided tour through the Museum’s interactive exhibit, "" which focuses on Mars exploration, as well as a scavenger hunt. For the "grand finale," each student received a pouch of astronaut ice cream when they boarded the bus.
"Smith wanted to do something special for the fifth graders that the other grades didn't get to do," said Leila Druzdis, Chief Operating Officer of the Children's Museum.
“It’s terrific that the Smith School PTO has made this possible for our students,” said Delores Bolton, Principal of Smith School. “We wanted to reward their hard work this year with something that would both be fun and continue to nurture their interest in science while connecting with our district science curriculum,” she continued.
Don Peterson, Interim Director of the Children's Museum, said he hoped that this type of year-end field trip "would become a prototype for other schools – both in West Hartford and other towns." Peterson said they had been working with Smith on the plans for this special day for about two months.
For more information, visit the Children's Museum website.