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Outer space activities, invented aliens spark student creativity

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BY JESSICA STEPHEN

jstephen@kenoshanews.com


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For the kids at Stocker Elementary School, the Dream Flight USA space bus tour was a chance to get hands-on with a robotic arm, invent alien life forms and plan healthy meals that leave room for space ice cream.

“Mmmm, ice cream. It’s hard now, but they add water to it and it tastes awesome!” Josh Brey, 11, said as he eyed a meal-ready-to-eat ice cream pack.

For the grown-ups, the bus was a chance to revel in all that and a bit of trivia.

“This was Wayne Newton’s old tour bus,” Principal April Nelson said and giggled.

That fact was lost on the fifth graders who lined the narrow aisle of the space bus, which was designed as a kind of rolling field trip for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. Based in Mosinee, Wis., the bus was expected to stop in Milwaukee today and Thursday. It made its only Kenosha stop Tuesday at Stocker, 6315 67th St.

Parked at the back of the school, the bus was abuzz with questions and discoveries as Stocker students busily slipped on work gloves to perform simulated repairs on the Hubble telescope, tested the bounds of gravity with a Slinky and used an old school Nintendo-style remote control to grab a golf ball with a robotic arm.

At the “Design an Alien” station in the back of the bus, classmates Ivan Delgado, Curtiss Tolefree, Stephanie Ward and Jayda Bohatkiewicz all studied the plastic solar system in front of them.

“You have to design an alien that can live on your planet,” explained Dream Flight instructor John Birnbaum. “Is it going to be cold on your planet or warm? Is there going to be anything for your alien to eat?”

Curtiss began sketching. “Draw E.T. or something,” he told Ivan, whose pencil seemed stuck in mid-air until Jayda plucked it out of his hand.

“Mine’s gonna have make-up,” Stephanie said, ignoring the pencil swap.

Curtiss’ alien was going to have rings, like its home planet Saturn.

“For levitation,” he decided.

Jayda drew a lanky figure from Jupiter. She wasn’t sure if it was a boy or a girl, but with all the antennae on its head, she said, “It’s going to get good cable.”

At the front of the bus, Josh Brey and his classmates Haley Powell, Jaqulyn Weber and Melanie Nerison struggled to provide a balanced diet for their astronauts.

“We know that they can’t eat cake,” Jaqulyn said.

“We have grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins. Oh, and dairy,” Haley explained.

“Ice cream!” Jaqulyn said as Brey looked at her and smiled.

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