Coles Cryptozoology Club explores UFOs and extraterrestrials
Posted on 12/17/2018
Coles Cryptozoology Club

What are unidentified flying objects? Have extraterrestrials visited Earth? These are a few of the questions that members of the Cryptozoology Club at Coles Elementary explored.

Hosted by ESOL Teacher Tara Hamner and School Counselor Heather Mainwaring, the Cryptozoology Club is a unique after-school club that uses inquiry-based learning to research mysterious creatures. Last school year the club researched Big Foot. Students think they may have found evidence of Big Foot on the Discovery Trail by their school. This year the club members chose to explore UFOs and aliens.

During club meetings students watched short videos about the infamous Roswell, New Mexico UFO sighting. Then, using Skype, club members interviewed Beth Wiggins, a UFO specialist who works at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell. Their questions included, “What is the first UFO sighting that you know about?” and “Have you ever seen a UFO?” as well as “Where do you think the aliens and the UFOs are coming from?” To the last question, Wiggins responded, “Well, if you have the opportunity to look up at the night sky, at any given time of the year, you can see billions of stars. And we're just a small part of that. How could it possibly be that we are the only intelligent planet that has advanced to the point of appreciating the science behind that?”

Madeleine “Mady” Tobias, a field investigator with MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), came to Coles Elementary to talk with students. Tobias holds a master’s degree in education and counseling. Before joining MUFON, she was a psychotherapist working with veterans with PTSD from combat trauma. She talked with students about her job with MUFON, which involves talking to people about their encounters with UFOs and aliens.

 Among the many hands-on projects were clay formations of what students imagined aliens look like based on their research. At the last club meeting, much to the delight of the Coles Elementary students, Colgan High School’s Improv Troop performed the five most credible modern UFO sightings.

Richard Shahan, supervisor of Prince William County Public School’s Media Production Services Office recently visited Roswell. He shared his experience with students as well as brought them a few keepsakes.

Fourth-grader Owen Di Carlo said, “The coolest thing about Cryptozoology Club is that we learned about crop circles, which are thought to be made by UFOs.” The Cryptozoology club will begin meeting again in the spring. Students will dive into the sea as they research the Loch Ness Monster, the Kraken and mermaids.