NEH students reach for the stars

BLAIRSBURG – Students took a trip past the moon and stars when the Hamilton County Conservation Digital Star Lab visited Northeast Hamilton Elementary School last Friday.

Naturalist John Laird brought the miniature planetarium to the Blairsburg school with the support of Prairie Lakes AEA.

Learning about the constellations used to be a science standard, explained Laird. Now children spend so much time indoors with technology that they have gotten away from viewing the wonder of space in the night sky.

“There is a sense of wonderment,” agreed Laura Seiser, NEH 4th-6th Grade Reading and Title I teacher who facilitated the program.

“My goal is to visit all the elementary schools in the county and visit with whatever groups would be interested in learning about the constellations,” said Laird who is in his first year with the Star Lab.

Pre-school students were the first visitors to the star bubble and their reactions were enthusiastic. Laird uses computer generated photos of the planets which rotate across the dome as if they were traveling on their daily, monthly or annual path across the sky.

The highlight of the presentation was the “zoom” past the planets. The moon filled the entire dome while the fiery red planet of Mars lit up the darkened bubble to the delight of the students.

For more information about the Star Lab, contact Laird at www.mycountyparks.com

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