East Union students look inside traveling planetarium

By Angie Barmer

Fifth to eighth graders at East Union Attendance Center got the chance to travel to another world and experience life outside our own when a traveling planetarium came to visit the school on Friday.

The University of Mississippi Graduate Student Whitney Jackson from The University of Mississippi’s Center for Math and Science Education brought the digital star lab, which is a portable planetarium, to East Union because of a request from Amy Lavanway, a fifth grade science teacher at East Union.

Lavanway wanted Ole Miss to bring this planetarium to the school so her students could take the information they learned in the classroom and relate it in a different way to help them fully understand astronomy.

She said, “I wanted the world of astronomy to be real and concrete for them so they will remember the information for years to come.”

Jackson showed the students the different phases of the moon, patterns of the stars, the Milky Way galaxy, images from Mars, images from the moon, the Earth’s tilt, the Sun, the four seasons, she talked about the Summer and Winter solstice and the Spring and Fall equinox, why the Sun is in a certain part of the sky during different times throughout the year, and the differences between reflection, refraction, and revolution.

Jackson said, “I tailor what I teach the students in the planetarium to what they have been learning in class so they can see what they have already learned in a different way. I love going to different schools and showing the planetarium because the students get so much out of it and learn so much more.”

For more information, contact the University of Mississippi Center for Math and Science Education.