Students at William O. Schaefer Elementary School visited the district’s portable planetarium last week (Starlab). Science Instructional Coaches Samantha Levine and Brian Newburger took students in each grade on a journey through the solar system that was tailored specifically for their science curriculum. Students have been learning about force and motion in science so their lesson focused on the motion (or apparent motion) of objects in space.
Kindergarten students were introduced to the Starlab and looked at space objects such as the sun, moon, milky way, International Space Station and the ring nebula. They got an up close look at the sun and moon and were able to virtually land on these objects to see what their surfaces look like. They also discussed how scientists from around the world are able to perform experiments in the ISS. Lastly, we observed the ring nebula and learned about how stars form nebula and how new stars form in their center.
First grade began the year by studying the movement of the sun. Their visit to the Starlab began with a review of the patterns we observe with the sun. In the Starlab they observed how the Earth’s rotation is what causes day and night. They answered the question “why does it get cold in winter?” by noticing how the path of the sun in winter is lower and shorter, while it goes higher and stays in the sky longer during the summer. They also saw how the Earth’s tilt caused these changes. Next, they learned about another object that has patterns in the sky – the moon! This concept was illustrated through a model which moved the moon to various positions around the Earth so the students could observe its phases.
Our second grade students have been learning about Earth materials and are about to embark on a study of solids and liquids. Their visit to the Starlab focused around the differences in the habitat of various planets based on the solids and liquids (or lack there of) that make up the planets’ composition. Students were asked to consider how various components would make each planet similar or different than earth.
The Starlab has lifted off from WOS and is on its way to Cottage Lane for students to enjoy!