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‘It’s not rocket science’ … actually, it was at Mill Creek

“Controllers … ready? Buzz in if you know the answer.” Those instructions prepared contestants in the Parents vs. Kids Space Trivia Bowl at Mill Creek Elementary School.

Space Trivia Bowl “served as a celebration at the end of our history unit on the Space Race,” sixth-grade teacher Amber Merrill said. “I like to supplement the (textbook) unit to include more about Huntsville’s specific role.”

Merrill scheduled the bowl during lunch hour to allow parents to “sneak away” from work to attend. “Parents expressed lots of enthusiasm afterwards, saying they enjoyed participating in their child’s learning,” she said.

Students Shivam Patel and Will Bowman racked the highest scores. “The ‘parent’ with the highest score was actually my husband, Garrick Merrill,” Amber Merrill said. “He just came for fun because he is a NASA employee and has always been highly interested in NASA history.”

Her trick questions successfully tripped up Garrick Merrill. “He still did very well. All those years of watching NASA TV paid off,” she said.

Space Trivia Bowl motivated students to understand the science material. “They wanted to beat their parents,” Merrill said. This week, the Mill Creek students participated in a similar trivia competition during Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

The Mill Creek students were excited to know the trivia answers, especially when their parents were stumped. “In the end, the parents beat the students by just one point,” Merrill said.

“I liked that the parents were there and got to participate, too,” sixth-grader Allison Helms said.

Shivam Patel, also in sixth grade, learned that Yuri Gagarin was the first man to orbit the earth. “I just thought he was the first man in space,” Patel said. “I thought John Glenn was the first man to orbit the earth, but he was just the first American. We got to compete against many people, including adults, so that was exciting.”

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