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Columbia campers reflect on Apollo 11 launch

MADISON – Their grandparents may think the half-century has flown by in a flash, but some summer campers recently looked back for 50 long years to learn about the Apollo 11 launch.

During the week of July 15, students in the Columbia Summer Camp program celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 with the Saturn V rocket launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. Third-grade teacher Alisha Mayfield led activities for this student experience. 

On July 15, campers dressed in red, white and blue garb to show their patriotism. Other youngsters wore space gear to reflect the astronauts’ space suits.

The next day, they watched the bottle-rocket launch, which hopes to qualify for “The Guinness Book of World Records,” at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and participated in the Global Rocket Launch. First-graders and pre-kindergartners later ‘launched’ their straw rockets with their exhaled breaths, high into the air.

Following printed copies as a guide for the varying formations, students learned about the phases of the moon and modeled the different shapes. An opened Oreo cookie with all of its white filling represented a full moon. A new moon has a bare, dark cookie with no filling (which students probably had gobbled up).

“They also watched footage of the moon landing on July 20, 1969 and learned about the astronauts on the ship,” third-grade teacher Karen Jump said.

Jessica Clements, a graduate of Bob Jones High School, treated the campers with snacks. Students ate Moon Pie marshmallow cakes and drank Tang, the instant orange drink that astronauts made famous in the 1960s.

Campers also drew and painted space-related artwork, with the guidance of Bob Jones student Emma Mayfield. Students in pre-kindergarten choose to depict their idea of the Saturn V’s blastoff, the lunar module in orbit and even a UFO with odd-looking aliens in the vessel.

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