Ask the second-graders at our Bernie Wohl Center about space, and the knowledge comes tumbling out. They talk over each other in their eagerness to share.
“There are three shapes of galaxies! Spiral, elliptical and irregular.”
“And we know one of the spiral galaxies, which is our galaxy Ð the Milky Way.”
“Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun. It has over 60 moons!”
” – and you can’t live on Jupiter because the gravity is stronger than Earth gravity. If you go on it you’ll squish to a pancake.”
All of our After School programs are studying Space as a shared theme this year, but this bunch Ð Group 2 among the five Bernie Wohl After School groups – is especially enthused. Under the intrepid guidance of Group Leader Brenda Delgado, they’ve made cardboard space helmets, done paint-and-cutout pictures of themselves spacewalking, and written letters to an alien race telling them what’s special about Earth. Like all the other groups at Bernie Wohl, they also did a poster and presentation about their assigned planet Ð Jupiter.
“During the summer we had the Apollo XI anniversary. So we decided to go with space as a theme this year,” said Roy Baptiste, program director for the Bernie Wohl After School.
In addition to being assigned a planet, each group has an aspect of space that it’s focusing on: Galaxies, Planets, Space Travel, Is There Life Out There? and Space-Related Media. They will continue doing projects through the school year, and presenting their work in shows at the end of each semester.
Asked whether they would want to live on the moon, the members of Group 2 said no Ð because the environment there doesn’t support human life. But when you ask if they want to live in a moon colony, most of those noes quickly flip to yeses.
“We tell them they’re the next generation,” says Baptiste. “Fifty years ago, that generation landed on the moon. But their generation is going to take us forward in new ways.”
When NASA is looking for moon colony volunteers someday, they might want to ask Group 2 first!