Editor’s note: Our recurring series Notes from the Classroom allows teachers in Union County schools the opportunity to talk about experiences in the classroom or projects their students are working on. This week’s edition highlights experiences from Tiffany’s Brown’s third grade class at Waxhaw
Third graders at Waxhaw Elementary explored the world and beyond in Discovery Place’s visiting Star Lab. The students entered the gym filled with excitement as they gazed at a huge black inflatable that reminded many of a giant spider. As the children approached the door of the Star Lab dome a “whoosh” of air hit their faces. They quickly found a place to sit and admire what was to come.
“It was dark,” third grader Michael Torbush said. “It looked like it was real and most of the time I kept saying wow!”
During this 50 minutes of discovery, amazement and genuine fascination the portable planetarium projected the moon from a distance and then close up as it almost crashed on everyone’s heads.
“It was so cool; the moon almost hit us!” third grader Ty Patterson said.
During the presentation, the students reinforced their knowledge by observing the craters seen on the surface of the moon, identifying the moon’s 8 phases, how long it takes for the moon to orbit the Earth as well as watching how the sun, moon and Earth work together in space.
Following the moon presentation, we observed the stars in their natural state twinkling and glowing in the distance. Some stars form constellations. These constellations were observed in graphics and stick figures. Once they saw each depiction of the many northern constellations we then tried to locate them in their natural appearance in the sky.
“Identifying the northern constellations was our focus because we live in the northern hemisphere of Earth therefore we only see the northern constellations because we live north of the equator,” Maggie from Discovery Place, explained.