The school community in Tasmania sent thousands into a panic after images of a stadium “meteor landing” were posted online and shared around the world.
Photographs of appropriate scientists examining what looked like a rock from space that shredded tar for Corpus Christi Catholic School in Lauderdale, near Hobart, led some to believe it was a real meteor strike.
The story was picked up by a local radio station and pictures of the event reached Sri Lanka.
However, the startling event was less planetary and more educational, as it was part of the school’s meteor discovery day meant for students.
“We’re trying to promote inquiry-based learning for students, and we’ve found that a great way to do that is to do something very wild,” Deputy Principal Ben Morgan told NCA NewsWire.
Using an excavator and a rock that looks particularly “out of this world,” local company Mansfield Builders have created a realistic meteor landing.
Both Tasmanian police and the local fire brigade were forced to make statements declaring the scene to be a hoax after the initial images caused an uproar.
“Lauderdale 4.1 and Police at the site of a meteorite crash at the front of Corpus Christi Catholic School… The simulated set certainly caught the eye of students and emerging scholars. This is set up as a learning opportunity for Discovery Day and not a #real!” Lauderdale Fire Brigade said on Facebook.
“Police participated in a simulated meteor landing at Corpus Christi Catholic School this morning – to help budding scientists with the opportunity to learn on Discovery Day,” Tasmanian Police said in a statement.
The students were shocked when they arrived at school on Monday to witness the “mimetic learning activity” in the middle of the courtyard.
“They were so surprised when they got here and they immediately started asking a lot of questions,” Morgan said.
The school was forced to issue a statement confirming that the scene was a fake after the initial images went viral, causing an uproar among those who thought a real meteorite had hit the school.
“We didn’t expect it to be as big as it happened on Facebook, it was even shared in Sri Lanka,” Morgan said.
The school has been praised for a one-of-a-kind experience, with real scientists also on board to help children with their learning.
“There’s a lot of learning going on, kids are working out how to remove it, they’re making machines that figure out how to lift it and how to measure it,” Morgan said.
The local community has come together to make this day a never forgotten day at school, with police and firefighters on site to help make the scenario as real as possible.
Originally published as Tasmanian School Meteor Landing Simulation that sent thousands into panic