Astronaut Jim Dutton takes the controls of an F-22 flight simulator as teacher Sara Biwer, from left, principal Maureen Adams and Anderson Banahan, crew trainer for Space Camp and Aviation Challenge, look on Friday during Space Week at West Ward Elementary School.

Students look at the sky a high altitude balloon is launched by Quest for Stars Friday as part of West Ward Elementary School’s Space Week.

Fifth-graders conclude space week with rocket launches, astronauts

By Krista M. Madkins

Killeen Daily Herald

Space Camp Live visited West Ward Elementary School, exposing more than 1,200 parents and students to all things space related.

“Our main focus was for them to engage and enjoy science and math as it applies to them in the real world,” said Maureen Adams, principal of West Ward Elementary School.

The school’s 502 students decorated hallways and classrooms in celebration of the 11th annual Space Week.

Space Camp Live, from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., was invited for the first time to Space Week by Adams. Adams also extended an open invitation to other Killeen Independent School District schools to attend the event.

“It took this whole week, but we didn’t finish it,” said Kaitlyn Reina, a fifth-grader at the school. “The adults stayed and finished it.”

She was referring to the special task her fifth-grade class was given to build a mock shuttle and mock control station. Not only did they build it, but the students conducted 30-minute screen plays of a mission, from beginning to end.

Students had a variety of events to participate in during Space Week. When asked to pick their top three favorites, most children could not pick and said they wanted all of the events and activities back next year.

“My favorite thing in Space Week was yesterday; we had the rocket launch of armed forces,” said Dylan Skowronski. “And we were rooting for Army and our class got first place … the first rocket didn’t work, it blew up on the testing shot, so we made a new one which was a short rocket that was a lot stronger, and we got first place.”

He identified Thursday’s rocket launch of armed forces as his favorite event. The event was a competition between the Army, Navy, the U.S. Air Force and Marines where competitors had to launch a rocket and see how far it would go. The Army won the event for longest flight, said Skowronski.