After studying the encapsulated moon and meteorite samples for a moment, it was hard for some East Clayton Elementary students to believe the minerals were truly from space.
Fourth-graders like Zane Anderson were impressed. “I’ve never actually seen a meteorite that close,” he said.
Librarian Shirley Purdy’s Nov. 13 class on space, which included NASA lunar and meteorite samples, left many students raising their hands with questions. That’s good, Purdy said, as her goal is to foster inquiry-based research.
“That’s what 21st century media centers do,” Purdy said. “We teach them about research, delineating fact from fiction and, of course, about reading.”
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When East Clayton Elementary’s library adopted a “space exploration” theme earlier this year, Purdy said she saw an opportunity to use one of her special certifications. In 1993, Purdy completed an educational workshop on lunar and meteorite samples, which allows her to request the materials from NASA.
A loan agreement gives students about two weeks to study the samples before Purdy ships them back to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. East Clayton Elementary’s focus on space will continue, though, as part of the library’s a year-long study. That’s good news to students like fourth-grader Krista Vera.
“It’s all really cool because I get to learn things like shooting stars are really meteors,” Vera said. “I would totally read about this.”
Before unveiling the samples from space, Purdy asked each student to write questions that they had about the moon. One frequent response was, “Will people ever live on the moon?”
Lunar living, as NASA has occasionally called it, is an ongoing exploration, and Purdy encouraged each student to keep up with the latest developments on the Internet.
“That would be pretty cool,” fourth-grader Bri Simerman said of life on the moon. “But I don’t think it will happen; there’s no air up there.”