In early October, Neuse Charter School first graders went to the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center to participate in the Science is Fun program. The school’s second graders stayed even closer to their classrooms roaming the Neuse Charter grounds to learn about weather. But for NCS fourth graders, well, their journey was millions of miles away.
Roughly 70 students wrapped up their Phases of the Moon studies on Oct. 19 and were able to travel to UNC’s campus and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for some hands-on lessons and space travel via the center’s amazing historical dome.
Patrick Wise, a third year physics major, spent about 45 minutes with the group explaining constellation patterns and searching the North Carolina night sky for familiar stars and planets.
“Sixty-two of the Gemini, Apollo and Mercury astronauts trained right in this room. Right where you are sitting,” Wise told the excited crowd. “They looked up at this same dome. This is the original dome.”
As Wise cleared out the light pollution, the dome radiated with thousands of stars and planets. The class chattered away as they were able to pick out famous patterns like the Big Dipper and planets such as Saturn. They even learned how to find the North Star.
After a show inside the dome called Earth, Moon and Sun, the class moved to a Discovery Class titled Round and Round We Go. Students got their chance to rotate and revolve playing the parts of the Earth, Moon and Sun. A few parents even participated with the students in learning the phases of the moon with a round Styrofoam ball and stick.
As the discussion leader told the class, “Even though you are sitting still, you are moving. We are all on a planet moving through space.”
The students talked about the recent lunar eclipse and were excited to learn about the next solar eclipse set for Aug. 21, 2017.
“You’ll need to travel to Charleston, S.C. or the western N.C. mountains,” told the class leader. “Hotels are already booked for it!”
Students answered nearly every question the leader posed and were ready to share what they had learned in Ms. Lisa Morgan’s science class.
All elementary grades have taken or will soon be wrapping up field trips for this term and teachers are already planning for winter and spring field trips.