Grade 6 students write and publish five individual magazines about space exploration, as they take NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)’s stated vision quite literally: To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.

Weaving topics through all disciplines

One of the highlights during a sixth grader’s year is the space unit. In the weeks leading up to their 3-day trip to Space Camp in Birmingham, Alabama, this group of students developed space colonies in science, and researched specific topics within space. At Mount Vernon, single topics are woven intricately through all disciplines. When Grammar teacher Jayne Liu explored how she might incorporate space exploration in her classes, she charged the students to write and design their own articles, which eventually merged to become five separate magazines — one per class. To prepare, the young journalists read through a variety of printed magazines, noting different literary techniques, dissecting headlines, learning how to include photos, and why it might make sense to break up the text with games, quizzes and advertisements.

Several students took the initiative to learn more about how they could publish their class magazines for public consumption. They met with internal experts, Mrs. Anne Katz and Mrs. Allison Toller, both of whom have had a lot of experience in writing, publishing, and marketing. After multiple iterations, final edits, and the finishing touches put on each magazine, they were printed and bound for each of the students in grade 6

students express their pride in a Mission accomplished:

Cole Carroll: Overall, the project was pretty fun! I really enjoyed when we had the meeting with Mrs. Katz and Mrs. Toller to learn more about publishing the magazine. I really liked seeing the final product and what everyone did, brought together. We included games, and advertisements while designing our own articles. I learned how to work with Canva and to find solutions to limitations of different programs.

Zachary White: It was interesting learning about my constellation, and it’s fun to learn about space overall because we haven’t done that since second grade. I liked how we could choose our topic, and I liked putting the magazine together with Canva.

Alanis Casas: I enjoyed how we got to research and make it come alive with the magazine. I learned the behind the scenes of publishing a magazine and enjoyed meeting with Mrs. Katz and Mrs. Toller!

Kiran Proctor: It was a good way to learn in groups to culminate our essays and writing in one whole product. It was cool how we could create our own designs in Canva and in groups. It was a new skill to a lot of us, especially me. I had to figure out how to use the program. I feel like I learned a lot about the military and how aircrafts could help us, including how it helps NASA and the military help people. It was cool to learn about aircrafts and from other people about what they learned.

Elisabeth Levy: I liked how creative we could be with the layouts! I really loved the topic of space, so it was fun to write. It was cool that we each had jobs for the groups, so it was organized. I learned a lot of information about my topic, and on the day it launched, it was cool.

I learned about every different person’s perspective and what their essay was about. I also got to learn a lot more on my topic specifically. I liked how we did our own and combined it to create something. I enjoyed designing with everyone and having ads at the end to make it like a real magazine.

Abby Ethridge, Grade 6

Jalen Gardner suits up for his first mission at the grade 6 annual adventure to NASA’s U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Eli Kenyon and Matthew Collins navigate gravitational fields in a flight capsule as they simulate travel in space.