My class has been studying space for the last two weeks and I was surprised by their reaction when I failed to add Pluto to the list of planets. Of course most of them remember the name only because they associate it with the Disney character, but they still couldn’t understand how it could be a planet and then not a planet. “Did it blow up?”
I had to give them the bad news of Pluto’s demotion from planet to “dwarf planet”. They were sad about the little planet getting removed from the group and treated the information with the same concern they have for a classmate moving to a new school. Ironic that Pluto was the only planet named by a child!
Well, I discovered that before they finish first grade my class will have a reason to once again be excited about Pluto! I can still remember John Glenn orbiting the earth on my birthday in 1962. Hopefully my students will long remember the first mission to Pluto, which began in 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2015. To learn more about the New Horizons spacecraft, click here.
To infinity and beyond…