Kids colonize the moon

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, April 13, 2017

Suffolk kids imagined what it might be like to colonize the moon during a program at Suffolk Public Library this week.

North Suffolk Library held an interactive Moon Colony program on Thursday for mostly elementary school age children. A Virginia Air and Space Center educator guided the children in a team effort to establish an imaginary moon colony using arts and crafts supplies.

“This was an interesting choice because we have a lot of interest in STEM programming here at the library, and we wanted to give a chance for them to look at what might be a real life situation in the future,” library outreach and program services manager Megan Mulvey said.

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Virginia Air and Space Center educator Cathy French organized the children into different groups for their colony needs, including food, water, air and electricity. Some children were tasked with thinking of new exercise and sports programs for colonists living in one-sixth of the gravity found on Earth.

“Think about how you could change the game of basketball, throw a football or kick a soccer ball,” French said.

Each table had toolboxes filled with Legos, circuit boards, plastic bottles, Dixie cups, and other assorted materials for the children to apply their imaginations. Five-year-old Jack Weber made a museum, school and library for the colonists.

His favorite contribution was the moon museum.

“When you go in it, it has a little less gravity,” he said.

His mother, Melissa Weber, said the activity was a great way to spend time with friends outside of school during spring break. She described it as a good time and a good way to keep her son focused.

“He is super into outer space, like Star Wars,” she said. “That got my attention.”

Other children thought of critical necessities for the colony not included in the lesson’s suggestions. Two-year-old Cole Riley, for instance, realized that the colonists will need Batman. His mother, Becky Riley, approved.

“We need Batman to fight crime,” she said.

French has been holding these classes for years to inspire the imagination and curiosity of children. She even brought genuine meteorite and lunar soil samples. The precious finds were on loan from NASA and encased in material for protection from time and the elements.

“They’re priceless,” French said.

She said the artifacts show the children both similarities and differences between the moon and Earth. This sparks their imagination and encourages them to learn more as they get older.

“I think if I can spark their imagination to want to do more, then I accomplished one of my goals,” she said. “They’ve got to be able to learn what the future could be, and that it doesn’t have to look like what it does now.”