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Kidsday: the e-Missions program

"Congratulations, Team Milky Way!" Those were the best words that Mrs. Mary Fernandes' fifth-grade class could hear.

We had just accomplished "finding" a lost space ship. We had worked so hard to achieve this amazing experience, and it all paid off. For kids in grades three to five, e-Missions will be a fantastic event they won't forget.

E-Missions is a program of the Challenger Learning Center in Wheeling, W.Va., whereby students simulate a space mission via videoconferencing.

E-Missions was such a blast. We were split into teams of three. The Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Communications teams. Our three different jobs were cargo, transmissions and navigation.

While doing e-Missions, you get to speak to a NASA astronaut via Skype. To be able to do e-Missions, you need access to Skype, a large display board such as a Smartboard, at least five computers for all the groups involved and a digital camera.

To accomplish e-Missions, you have to work very hard. You have to plot coordinates on a graph; this helps you with the job of navigation. Then, you have to know how to decode messages. This was for the job of transmission. Lastly, you have to be able to do multiplication problems to try to figure out supplies for the trip.

Our activity was for cargo, probably the hardest. Every few minutes, we were sent new coordinates and information that we used to try to help astronauts.

Talking to an astronaut was definitely not on our bucket list, but now we can say we have talked to one. How many students can say that? Doing e-Missions is going to be one of the biggest memories of fifth grade. Want to do it? It's easy, check the website:


Earlier this year, Minnesauke Elementary School held a read-a-thon. It was a great way to raise money for superstorm Sandy victims.

The best part of the read-a- thon was that everyone had fun.

For the last block of the day, every student in the school took part in this great event and read. It was great to see everyone reading. Some kids even wore their pajamas.

My school raised $7,910. Every penny students collected went to local Sandy victims. Students reached this goal all on their own. I'm so glad I got to take part in this worthwhile endeavor. I will never forget the positive feeling of helping others in need. Minnesauke read to make a change.

-- EILEEN WHELAN/Kidsday Reporter

CLASS OF THE WEEK Mary Fernandes' fifth-grade class, MINNESAUKE SCHOOL, East Setauket


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