Students at Fleming- Neon Elementary attended the “Mars Invasion 2030 — From Coal Camp to Space Camp” at Hazard Challenger Learning Center on May 24. Linda Cantrell and Christine Parrott led the expedition of 34 fourth and fifth graders to Mars.
The program shows how the disciplines of science, math and technology are connected in both space science and coal mining and how similar many of the job duties are for astronauts and coal miners.
The Mars Invasion was created and developed through a partnership between the Challenger Learning Center and CEDA Inc. (Coal Education Development And Resources). Participation by the Fleming-Neon students was sponsored by Alpha Natural Resources.
The students participated in several activities. They started by designing the space shuttle to be used for transporting the astronauts to Mars. Another project was to build a model of a colony that could be used on Mars. Students had to design the shapes and decide what kind of structures could be used on the planet. Next they had to build the model.
During the final part of the project, students examined clay samples of different colors representing different minerals found on Mars. They then used the sample data to determine where they wanted to land for the best resources.
Students received a short training when they arrived at the Challenger Center and a hard hat to wear during their mission. They completed activities at pods, earning fuel with each correct answer. Mission specialists also conducted a mining activity with students.