South Toe Elementary School students, faculty, and staff were part of an exciting day on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Why? The UNC-Chapel Hill Morehead Planetarium Outreach program PLANETS paid a visit to our campus.
Ms. Penni Robinson, third grade teacher, wrote and received a grant from the Yancey County Schools Foundation in order to have this outreach program brought to our school. Addie Jo Schonewolf, PLANETS Science Education Specialist, was in charge of presenting the program to the students.
PLANETS (Portable Learning for All of North Carolina Elementary Teachers and Students) is the leading full dome digital video portable planetarium in North Carolina! The PLANETS Portable Planetarium Program delivers engaging standards-based science education throughout North Carolina to students in grades K–12, along with professional development opportunities and resources to teachers of grades K-6.
The portable planetarium allows Morehead to bring the excitement and unique educational experience of a traditional planetarium show directly to each school. Children step from their classroom setting into the portable planetarium and discover an exciting world that reveals the secrets of science and astronomy. Morehead educators create an immersive learning environment that teachers can cultivate and reinforce in their own classrooms.
PLANETS is supported in part by N.C. Space Grant. Additional funding comes from the Chatham Foundation and the University of North Carolina Provost Office.
PLANETS offers classroom materials that align with North Carolina Essential Standards, helping teachers to take full advantage of their PLANETS visit.
These interdisciplinary activities link to the science content presented in the planetarium show and can be used before or after the visit. They focus on math, social studies and writing skills. Students are encouraged to make connections across these important subjects.
Mrs. Wanda Hensley, Kindergarten teacher, said, “My students were highly engaged throughout the program.”
Mrs. Melissa Thomas, grades 1 and 2 teacher, stated, “The kids loved the program, especially the constellations, and were very excited.”
Ms. Kimberly Cripps, grade 2 teacher, said, “The students were in awe of the program and had a plethora of questions for Miss Addie Jo. “
“The program correlated with the Common Core Standards in Science,” stated Mrs. April McKinney, grade 4 teacher.
Mrs. Margot Atuk, grade 5 teacher, shared that her students were “especially engaged while learning about weather on the other planets in our solar system.”
Mrs. Barbara Ramsey, kindergarten assistant, said, “The program was an entertaining way to teach students about space.”
“It felt like a real educational experience, and I would really like to do it again in the future,” said Olivia Edwards, grade 5 student.
Coda Medford, grade 3 student, shared that he thought that “the planetarium was pretty cool because it seemed 3D.”
Hannah Robinson, grade 3 student, added, “It had a lot of details to it.”
Leif Cedergren, grade 3 student, excitedly shared this statement: “It felt like I was actually going through the solar system.”