NEW! Radio Sky
Suggested for Earth and Environmental Science
Concepts: Optical and radio astronomy, Milky Way
The observable universe beyond the thin slice of the visible spectrum is often overlooked. Radio Sky immerses the audience in the radio universe, yielding a firsthand experience with a part of the electromagnetic spectrum of which most are unaware. The program consists of a radio view of the Milky Way projected on the portable planetarium dome which can be removed and replaced with the visible sky view of the Milky Way. Newspapers and magazines, television and the internet, broadcast almost daily news about discoveries in astronomy that have been made at radio, millimeter, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths. This program can help the public relate to these discoveries and become excited them. For more information and curriculum materials visit Sensing the Radio Sky. For details on requesting a Radio Sky cylinder to use in your own StarLab, contact Christi Whitworth.
Shapes and Patterns in the Sky
Suggested for Grade 1 Mathematics
Concepts: Constellations, Circles, Squares, Rectangles, Ovals, Trapezoids, etc.
Starting with the current night sky we learn how astronomers find their ways around the heavens using familiar shapes and patterns. We find the Great Square of Pegasus (fall), the Winter Circle around Orion the Hunter, the backwards question mark of Leo the Lion (spring) and the Summer Triangle. We use the familiar Big Dipper to find the North Star and constellations such as Boötes the bear-driver (a kite). In our search we might just find a coat hanger, an ice cream cone and a tea kettle. There is even a constellation named Triangulum.
The Moon and Stars: Now You See Them; Now You Don't
Suggested for Grade 3 (NC) or 4 (SC) Science
Concepts: Constellations, Diurnal motion of the stars, Phases and location of the Moon
Starting with a model we observe the daily and annual motions of the Earth and the monthly orbit of the Moon. We then use the planetarium to learn some of the constellations visible in the evening's sky and look for the Moon. Through activities in the planetarium we model the changing phase and position of our closest neighbor. We also observe how the stars move in the sky as the Earth rotates on its axis.
The Reason for the Seasons
Suggested for Grade 4 (SC) Science
Concepts: Constellations, Seasons, Height of the noonday sun, Length of the day, Rising and setting points of the Sun
Starting with a model we talk about the tilt of the Earth on its axis as the reason for the seasons. We then use the planetarium to learn some of the constellations visible in the evening’s sky. Then we move to daytime in the planetarium to observe how the height of the noontime sun, the length of the day and the sunset points change with the seasons.
Stars of My People
Suggested for Grade 4 or 7 (NC) or 2, 4 or 6 (SC) Social Studies
Concepts: Constellations and Sky legends from various cultures: Native American, African, Chinese, Mayan and Australian Bushman
In studying the sky we normally familiarize ourselves with the so-called classical sky of the ancient Greeks. But peoples of other cultures had equally rich and interesting traditions. We will sample some of these to give the student an appreciation of the rich diversity peoples of many cultures had in their views of the sky and the legends they told about it.
Stars of Lewis and Clark
Suggested for Grade 5 (NC) or 4 (SC) Social Studies
Concepts: Constellations, The Moon, Angular measurement, Time and time zones, Latitude and longitude, Exploration of the West
200 years ago Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned from their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. In the days before GPS, how did they know where they were? Using nine navigational stars and the Moon and making angular measurements in the sky they were able to determine their latitude and longitude as they compiled a map of their journey.
Realm of the Planets
Suggested for Grade 6 (NC) or 4 or 8 (SC) Science
Concepts: Constellations, the Zodiac and Ecliptic, The planets, Motions of the Sun
Starting with the current locations of the planets in their orbits, we move to the evening’s sky and note where they appear among the zodiacal constellations. The apparent motion of the sun around the ecliptic sets the stage for a discussion of equinoxes and solstices.
Motions in the Sky
Suggested for Earth or Physical Science
Concepts: Constellations, Colors of stars, Motions of the planets, The Sun and Moon, The Milky Way, Doppler Shift, Optical & radio astronomy
In viewing the constellations of the night’s sky, we note the colors of stars and locations of planets. We note the apparent motion of the Sun around the ecliptic. Looking at the Milky Way we find out how astronomers, using the Doppler Shift in both optical and radio wavelengths, map out its structure.
The Sky Tonight
25-45 minutes depending on age level
Suggested for PreK-8 and special groups
Concepts: Constellations, Mythology, Locating the planets and moon
We all have a sky at night. We look at the evening’s sky, noting the major constellations of the season and locating the moon and any planets that might be visible. Using the planetarium projector we note how stars move as the night progresses.
Are the programs listed the only ones available?
The programs listed are specifically designed to support areas of the North and South Carolina curricula. However, the astronomer is able to modify these or present other topics on request.
How do I prepare my students?
A minimum of a week prior to the StarLab’s visit, you will receive an advance packet from PARI. This packet will include student activities as well as general information on the planetarium.
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