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Traveling Planetarium Visits Hughesville

By Staff | Feb 8, 2011

Students in Mrs. Susan Carroll’s third grade class are pictured gazing up at the display of stars and planets inside NASA’s Geodome at Ashkar Elementary in Hughesville.

HUGHESVILLE – Recently, all third grade students at Ashkar Elementary School, and the sixth grade students from the Ferrell and Renn Elementary Schools were given the opportunity to view stars and planets at Ashkar Elementary in NASA’s Geodome, a traveling planetarium. The dome, which measures almost 14 feet high and measures 31 square feet, is made of parachute material and when assembled in the Ashkar Gymnasium resembled a very large black igloo. A unique feature is the absence of an airlock, which enables wheelchair access and accommodates an entire class and adults comfortably.

Three East Lycoming Elementary teachers, (Susan Carroll- Ashkar third grade teacher, Tyler Winters- Renn sixth grade teacher, and Julie Yeager- Ashkar sixth grade teacher) attended training sessions to organize and provide the instruction to teach students about space and the planets.

The goal of the traveling planetarium is to inspire students in the areas of math and science through an interactive experience. During the hour session, the image of space was projected onto the ceiling of the dome. The 3-D Space Theatre projects real NASA images from satellites and real space trips made by astronauts.

The use of technology with collaborative team teacher instruction created an educational setting for immersive learning, visualization experiential learning, visual- spatial intelligences, and inquiry- based learning. Utilizing multi- intelligence learning styles in a unique 3D environment provided each of the East Lycoming students with a personal experience of the wonders of space without outside distractions.

Ashkar Principal Anne Brovey added, ” Using an indoor planetarium on loan from NASA, teachers Susan Carroll, Tyler Winters, and Julie Yeager shared their space expertise with the third and sixth grade students. This geo-dome was on loan to us due to their involvement in a Math, Science, Technology grant through NASA. All three teachers will continue participating in the grant for next school year. They are anxious to see what new ‘tools’ NASA will be sharing with them and then bring them back to the East Lycoming School District!”