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Having a BLAST: High schoolers teach young students about Apollo 11

Telegraph photos by GRACE PECCI Students in Andrea Pederzani’s second-grade class build their water bottle rocket on Friday in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which is coming up in July. Students from the Nashua High School North class of U.S. history teacher Charlie Ziniti spent the day teaching students how to make bottle rockets, and gave them activities to participate in so they could learn about the Apollo 11 moon landing.

NASHUA – On Friday, Broad Street Elementary School students got a lesson in the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, as the 50th anniversary is coming up July.

Nashua High School North U.S. history teacher Charlie Ziniti took his students to four second and third-grade classrooms to teach the lessons.

“The number one goal with the project is to introduce the first moon landing to the kids and get them excited about it,” Ziniti said. “This is the chance, with the 50th anniversary, to communicate one of the most fascinating stories of 20th century U.S. history.”

Ziniti said each year, he tries to do something unique and different with his history classes for an independent project. This was the first year he planned this event.

Ziniti said he hoped this would challenge his students to get out of their comfort zones. Ziniti said he and the students began working on their lessons in March.

He is evaluating them based on the content in their presentations, as well as their interactions with the students.

“I hope this inspires them to do good work in the sense that not only are they learning for themselves, they are learning to teach others. I hope it inspires them,” Ziniti said of his students.

Nashua High School North junior Rachel Morris said Friday that she enjoyed being in the classroom environment at Broad Street Elementary School.

“Everyone is very curious and kind and I’m having fun,” Morris said.

She also noted the importance of teaching young students about important historical moments, such as Apollo 11.

“We need to know and learn about what we have done and where we’ve been in order to grow and move forward,” Morris said. “We don’t know what’s going to be out there in the future, so it’s important to have a baseline understanding.”

Third-grade teacher Maureen Patt said she thought it was fun for students to learn from different people.

“It motivates them, it makes them think, it’s something different from what we’re already doing,” Patt said.

“I think it’s great that they can see that in five or six short years, they could also be doing something like this and it’s fun that they get to work in groups all day. They have all kinds of different hands-on experiences,” she added.

Ziniti and his students planned a full day of activities that included interactive exhibits, stories, a visit from the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center’s traveling planetarium and the building of water bottle rockets.

Students were able to send their water bottle rockets blasting off to wrap up the day.