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Fifth Graders Experience a Star Lab Planetarium

Fifth-grade students at Love Creek recently wrapped up their Astronomy Unit with a special planetarium show in the Star Lab. As part of the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS) students learned a variety of information throughout the astronomy unit, and also spent time investigating the role that distance plays in the Sun’s interactions with the Earth.

 

The Star Lab made this connection for students by allowing them to examine the star Betelgeuse, which is approximately 500 light years away. It is believed that in the future, the light from this supernova will finally reach the Earth and be bright enough for three nights, to be able to read a book outside in its light. Students were able to use this information to consider how close Earth and our star, the Sun, really are to one another since it only takes eight minutes for its light to hit us. “The Star Lab brought our galaxy up close and personal to the students,” said fifth grade teacher Kelly Hynes. “They could finally visualize the vastness of space and our small spot in the universe, and witness the observable patterns, such as the phases of the moon.”  In addition to investigating the role that distance place in space, students also learned that the innovative space suits used from the start of space exploration were designed and produced right here in Dover, Delaware.

 

Ms. Hynes hopes that the Star Lab experience will provide the students with inspiration to not only explore but to consider life on the moon and the possibility of using resources from there to sustain life on Earth in the future. “We shared information with the fifth graders about how college students and scientists from all backgrounds around the world are teaming up to design a machine that can not only land on the moon but also move 500 meters to take pictures to send back to Earth,” Hynes said. “Giving them insight to this, ‘Adult Science Fair’ project, really got them excited to do more research and start working on their own designs. For me that’s what this is about, inspiring and encouraging students to continue to learn.”

 

Students were able to participate in the Star Lab planetarium thanks to Chris Lenhart. Mr. Lenhart is an eighth-grade science teacher at Beacon Middle School.