Young Astronauts Mission History

The Young Astronaut program at Columbus Magnet School is an activity-based curriculum using space and space travel as the backdrop for scientific inquiry. As an after school enrichment program, it is open to grades one through five. Unlike other after school activities, the Young Astronauts combine serious learning with a sense of wonder and fun.

As children progress through each grade, the level and sophistication of the lessons grow with them. With several years of "astronauting" under their belts, fifth grade Young Astronauts are eligible for the annual simulated mission.

The fifth grade simulated mission is a year long program of intense learning and training in preparation for a 24 hour space operation that is run each May. The participants are divided between astronauts and mission controllers. Only the most determined fifth graders volunteer for what is a demanding, yet rewarding, year.

The fifth graders continue the science learning they began in earlier grades, with a greater emphasis on hands-on scientific investigation. Additionally, many sessions are devoted to the concepts and application of team building exercises - skills that serve the astronauts and controllers well during the pressures of a day long mission. These students also participate in community service and charitable projects throughout the year. Finally, there is a distinct emphasis placed on physical training, as the children learn that a fit body leads to a fit mind.

The first mission was held in 1996 under the direction and guidance of former principal, Art Perschino. Today, the Young Astronauts program relies and thrives on the dedication and expertise of the fantastic parents and faculty of Columbus School, as well as the exceptional students who participate in the program. We fully expect the program to continue and improve with each new year!