Out of this world project places art by Jackson students on NASA satellite
JACKSON TWP. – This is a classroom art project that is out of this world.
Students in Lindsay Fuzer’s fourth grade class at Strausser Primary School over the past school year, they have been asked to create artwork to adorn the exterior of a NASA satellite to be launched into space.
For more than a year, organizers and students had to keep the project a secret as classrooms across the United States created the artwork for the first children’s art exhibit in space. .
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Fuzer said. “This is the first time children can send a message to the universe.”
Jackson’s 26 fourth graders spent some art class creating their masterpieces that answer the question, “What are you most proud of on Earth that you would like to share with the universe? ”
Fuzer said the students were asked to think about what makes Earth a good neighbor if there’s anything else out there.
students put pencil to paper to answer the question and create their designs on a 6 x 6 square.
Quinn Schuring knew from the start what she was going to draw – her family, including mom and dad, Allison and Derrick, and her younger siblings Everett, Lucy and Owen.
“They are the most important thing on earth (to me),” the 10-year-old said. “They support me. They help me. I love them and they love me.”
In the drawing, Schuring and his family hold hands while Everett perches on Dad’s shoulders.
But nine-year-old Zahlouk drew three flowers and a buzzing bumblebee in the flora.
“I think flowers are pretty cool,” she said, admitting that her space-going artwork is probably the closest she can get to the great unknown.
She would like to know what is there.
Besides the family and the flowers, the students drew beach scenes and animals such as horses, cheetahs and fish.
Other students depicted their favorite seasons while others drew friends holding hands to symbolize friendship and a sign of peace.
Tate Husted drew a snowman.
“Snow is unique,” said the 10-year-old boy. “The little grains of snow are individual but all together they create the snowman.”
How the Strausser School partnered with NASA
Strausser was selected by DrawTogether and NASA.
Fuzer began using online art courses created by New York Times bestselling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and her company DrawTogether when the courses were closed due to COVID-19.
MacNaughton created the online courses to help children and their parents during school closures.
After using the lessons with his students, Fuzer contacted DrawTogether to say thank you for the free lessons.
“They were like, ‘Are you an educator using it?'”
From there, Fuzer began working with the band to develop teaching materials.
“He was one of those who connected with the right people,” Fuzer said of the opportunity for students to contribute artwork to NASA.
Jackson’s Elementary Program Coordinator Becky Gribble said Fuzer is a creative teacher always looking for ways to expand learning.
A trained social worker, McNaughton not only incorporates the basics of art into her classes, but also centers them on social and emotional learning, Fuzer said.
McNaughton teaches students lessons such as not being afraid to make mistakes, how to manage anxiety and how to be more creative and confident, she said.
Impromptu online art classes became a YouTube channel and DrawTogether podcasts and classrooms that Fuzer continues to use in his classroom.
“She saw the need when we were home,” Fuzer said. “The first lesson, it had 12,000 people watching, the next 16,000.”
McNaughton gave an art lesson once a day for several weeks throughout the shutdown.
The drawings were due to be delivered to NASA last November and Fuzer said the children’s artwork could be reduced to the size of a postage stamp.
According to DrawTogether, designer Alvaro Villanueva, DrawnTogether and NASA will shape these designs into a unifying image that will soon be etched into the side of a satellite and then carried into space on a SpaceX rocket.
It’s unclear when the satellite will launch, but Fuzer hopes the students can watch the launch together. They also hope to set up a virtual tour with NASA so they can see the process of turning their masterpieces into etchings on the satellite.
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