At 9th Bridge School, students are blasting into space with an innovative solar system project-based program that was launched in September, with students as the Engineers of the project.
It was the students idea.
Kindergarten and First Grade students were asked what they wanted to know more about. They choose space. Their curiosity connects to a higher commitment to learning.
As their teacher, Marie-ange Haddad said, “It’s really important because then they’re engaged, they’re interested in it.”
Since this is project-based learning, their solar system curriculum is connected to other school subjects.
It’s a busy classroom with a number of directed activities: there is an astronaut station with space suits, they build rockets and spaceships with blocks, a library with space books, and on the day we visited – students made planets out of paper mache.
Students painted them to look like actual planets, and became very informed on their particular planet, confidently listing unique facts about each of their planets.
The students also closely followed NASA’s recent landing on the surface of the red planet.
Their teacher described that pivotal experience.
“We spent the morning watching the NASA videos about the take off to Mars, and how it landed, and the speed. They’re actually planning their own trip to Mars, and what they would do if they went up there!”
Students also excitedly talked about their interest in the solar system, and considered the possibility that maybe space travel is now in their future.
First-grader Declan Cleary, said “I want to be a cop and an Astronaut!” And Kindergartner Catalina Martinez told me she wants to be one of the people “who count down for the rocket ships.”
The verdict: the solar system project based learning was a winner with their teacher noting that when kids are interested, achievement happens.
The Founder and Head of School, Connie Yeh is tremendously proud of the program, saying, “There’s so much initiative, so much engagement, and so many research skills that the children are implementing, and it’s something that they choose, and that they’re interested in – so it’s just wonderful to see the learning, and the interest all meld together.”