Here's the last in

KidsPost's series on

Maryam Abdul-Tawwab's fourth-grade class at

Watkins Elementary School in Southeast Washington.

Back in September they were nervous newbies, dropping school

supplies and getting

in trouble. Now, it's May

and they're cool cats who seem to take life's little challenges in stride.


The school year is almost over. The big projects are done. And the kids of Room 410 are going on a field trip to the National Air and Space Museum.

How tough can the day be?

Very, judging by the 31-question handout teacher Maryam Abdul-Tawwab has given the students to complete during the trip. Questions include: "What is buoyancy?" "When was Halley's Comet last seen?" "Who is this building dedicated to?"

But then they catch a break. Ms. Abdul-Tawwab scales back the mission (after a parent chaperone pleads for mercy). The children may do a portion of the worksheet if they wish. Whew!

Cheers ring out! They head off to catch the Metro bus to the museum.


The kids are talking excitedly on the way -- about everything but space, it seems.

"Guess what happens in the end? They find the cure!" Joe May is telling Alexander Collingsworth about the book they're both reading, "The Divide," by Elizabeth Kay.

"I can't wait for Harry Potter 3, the movie," says Haley Irish, who is also showing off her collection of cicada shells to anyone who cares. "Check it out," says Shelby Gueory, recommending the TV show "Scaredy Camp" to Diamond Wells. "It's a really good show where they have these weird ghosts and kids have to investigate mysteries."

"Remember the '70s party we had?" Nigel Peterson says. "Everyone danced. Even our teacher!"

Once they get to the museum, though, some students start to find the questions on the handout pretty interesting.

"What language does the word comet come from?" their teacher asks, standing on the museum steps outside, reading from the paper.

"Greek? Or Spanish?" Oni Crawford says. "Latin?" Alexander ventures.

Of course, not everybody is thinking such lofty thoughts.

"I wish we could have a water gun fight!" Lester Redmond says, wiping the sweat from his cheek.

Weighty Matters

Inside, there's a little shoving as the kids stand beside a special scale. It tells not only how much you weigh on Earth (89 pounds, in Olivia Young's case), but how much you'd weigh on other planets (224 pounds on Jupiter, Olivia!).

The kids may be interested in space, but there's so much happening on their part of Earth -- another field trip, promotion-day ceremonies, a class party. (Watkins ends at fourth grade, so most students will attend Stuart-Hobson Middle School.)

Oni can't stop talking about her 10th birthday party, happening in just a few hours. "You better be there at 7:30! Or else we're going to put a LOT of lip gloss on you!" Oni tells Ann Elise Trafford, who is rolling her eyes. "She is always trying to get me to wear that stuff and I don't want to," Ann Elise says, laughing. "She wants to be Plain Jane!" Oni says.

Drama and Melodrama

On the walk back to school Christopher Feaster is overcome by his pollen allergies. His face is red, his eyes are streaming, his throat is itchy. The teacher gets him water and walks with him.

At school they watch the Baltimore Opera Company do a production of "The Three Little Pigs." It's funny when one pig calls another "Bacon Butt." But it's not so funny when one of the second-graders throws up, right next to Shelby.

At the end of the day as they're leaving, Ms. Abdul-Tawwab produces Popsicles from her big purse. More cheers. It's been a busy day.

"I just can't wait for school to be over!" says Shelby, to no one in particular.

-- Fern Shen

Maryam Abdul-Tawwab's fourth-grade class travels to the National Air and Space Museum. Right, Ann Elise Trafford experiments with air pressure. Far right, Watkins students

learn about Amelia Earhart.