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This class rocks! Moon material part of Seven Sorrows curriculum

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 10/31/18

Lessons about the surface of the moon and meteorites are common in middle school, but students at Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary had a boost to help the class come to life — samples …

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This class rocks! Moon material part of Seven Sorrows curriculum

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Lessons about the surface of the moon and meteorites are common in middle school, but students at Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary had a boost to help the class come to life — samples of meteorites and rocks from the moon.

Kerri Rapp, who teaches middle school science at SSBVM, had heard that teachers could borrow lunar rocks and meteorites from NASA. The teachers have to be certified, which Rapp participated in over the summer.

The rocks and meteorites arrived in Middletown on Oct. 4, and Seven Sorrows had them through the Oct. 24. Meteorites are pieces of space debris that make it to Earth.

“It’s kind of part of my dream,” said SSBVM sixth-grader Jude Henderson, who wants to be a NASA engineer. “NASA changes lives.”

In sixth grade, SSBVM students learn about space. Rapp thought having the rocks and meteorites in class would help the lessons come alive. Anything hands-on always helps enhance lessons, she said.

According to Rapp, the lunar rocks came from the Apollo 16 and 17 missions in 1972, and the meteorites were found in Antarctica.

During class on Oct. 24, Henderson and the other sixth-graders learned how moon craters and regolith — a loose substance that covers its surface — were formed.

Rapp divided the class into two groups. To make the regolith, students dropped rocks onto graham crackers. They tallied how many hits it took to turn the crackers into a fine dust like the regolith.

On the other side of the classroom, the children dropped large and small marbles on a pie crust to observe how craters were formed.

Only 12 people have stepped on the moon, and NASA has collected 842 pounds of lunar rocks and other material from the surface of the moon.

It’s a privilege to have access to the samples, Rapp said.

“I wanted the kids to feel that amazement and bring that to their learning,” Rapp said.

Every grade was able to work with the rocks and meteorites for at least one class. All students were able to hold the disks that contained them and could compare them to rocks found on Earth.

Some of Rapp’s other lessons include activities such as building stomp rockets, which are powered by the release of compressed air, often by jumping on them.

In the younger grades, Rapp had the students write a picture book about the moon and make a moon out of aluminum foil.