Seeing stars |

Seeing stars

East Elementary School project brings solar system down to Earth

Josh Nichols

Staring at the surroundings of the library at East Elementary School, people might think they’re looking through a high-powered telescope.

Lining the room are meteors, planets, stars and comets, all created by fourth graders at the school for their space projects.

Fourth graders at the school recently completed projects for the space fair.

“I’m very impressed,” said teacher Sandy Claus of the students’ projects. “We just asked them to find information about space and

they could do anything they


Fourth grader Chanda Walker made a model of the solar system, complete with the planets, meteors and even a rocket.

“It took me a couple of days and I learned a lot about the planets and stuff,” Walker said of her project.

Casey Martin painted foam balls and glued them on a 15-foot-long piece of paper, representing each planet’s size and its distance from the sun.

Listed underneath each planet is its size and temperature.

Nicole Garcia decided she wanted to learn more about comets, and made a model of the come “Hale-Bopp.”

Accompanying her model are pictures of comets taken by her uncle.

“I got the idea from my uncle because he’s so interested in how long they are and how fast they go,” she said.

She said she learned that comets are made of ice and dust.

“It’s hard to see a comet because it is so far away and moving in an orbit around the sun,” she said.

The students’ projects also were timely, Claus said, with the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia recently.

She said the class dedicated several class periods to discussion on the subject.

“We discussed the future of the space program and whether it should continue,” she said. “It was unanimous that the students thought the program should keep going.”

Claus said parents are welcome to come to the school anytime this week and see the projects on display in the library.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or

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