To kick off the first grade Astronomy unit, Glenwood Landing first graders had an exciting and educational visit from Night Sky Educational Starlab. Starlab is a portable planetarium that offers students an opportunity to learn about celestial bodies in our Universe; like stars, planets, and moons. These celestial bodies are made visible to students through a special device that displays pinpoints of light inside a giant dome.
In November 2017, the Glenwood Landing children became scientists as they learned about the different planets in the solar system including Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune as their photos were projected on the dome. Additionally, they listened about their various sizes and attributes. They were asked which planet contained water and why is it important? The answer which most of the students knew is the planet, Earth! Water is unique to the earth and is very important to sustain all living things including animals, vegetables, and humans!
In addition, they watched the Starlab instructor demonstrate how the Earth revolves around the sun when she spun or “orbited” around the inside of the dome! She also shared with the young students that it takes approximately 365 days for the earth to revolve around the sun which is known as one Earth year. She discussed that it takes each planet in our solar system a different amount of time to revolve around the sun which corresponds to its distance from the sun (e.g., the farther the planet is from the sun, the longer the orbital period takes).
The first graders had the opportunity to create their own “My Solar System Research Books” as they asked questions, made observations, and looked for patterns in the solar system. As scientists, they performed research and then documented all of their answers in individual research books. Many thanks to the Glenwood Landing SCA for bringing this wonderful educational experience to our students and Glenwood Landing Enrichment teacher Audra Marcantonio.
Article written with assistance from Audra Marcantonio.
Photos provided by the classroom teachers.
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