by Harleigh Wiesenbach Features Editor
The kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade classes were introduced to a part of science that they normally wouldn’t even think of at the high school planetarium. The kindergarten and first grade classes visited the planetarium on March 20 and 26, and the fourth grade class visited the planetarium on March 28. Dr. Mercadante prepared lessons for each group. The astronomy PLT in the elementary school for the kindergarten and first graders sparked an interest in the subject, so they were shown a live star show. Featured in that live show was the milky way, constellations, and some of the solar system’s record-holders, i.e. the largest planet in the solar system. The Welcome to the Universe class even got to select which constellations Mercadante talked about with the students.
“I think the kindergarteners’ and first graders’ minds were just blown by seeing everything above them and just really thought it was cool,” says Mercadante.
The fourth grade class learned about something different than the kindergarten and first grade classes because they had just wrapped up their unit on the solar system. Mercadante showed them Oasis in Space, which explains why earth is an “oasis” and explains why life here is unlike that of any other planet.
“Overall, the kids really enjoyed it. They were very excited coming and leaving the planetarium,” Mercadante stated.
Mercadante hopes next year the Welcome to the Universe class can run it and wishes to make it a student-to-student taught event. Otherwise, if she could do it differently next year, she found that it worked better with the fourth grade because they were more spread out and she didn’t have to rush to fit in information in a limited amount of time.
“I would love for the Welcome to the Universe class to run the shows and to train them to do a live star show, but that’s way down the line,” Mercadante said.