“Did you know that Australia is larger than Pluto? And Pluto is smaller than the earth’s moon?” responded a boy eagerly when asked to share an interesting fact about the solar system and the universe. Indeed, Australia measures about 4,000km wide which is almost twice the size of the diameter of Pluto which is only 2,370km across.
Last week, our Year 4 boys spent a day at the Auckland Stardome Observatory and Planetarium as an extension to their science inquiry on planets, moons and the sun of our solar system.
This term, the boys have been focusing on a unit titled “Our place in Space” deepening their understanding of where we fit in the universe and how important it is to look after the world we live on. In groups, they worked to collaboratively to learn to take notes, summarise information and create a visually engaging poster displaying their groups’ knowledge of one of the eight planets.
On arrival at Stardome, the boys were ushered to the Observatory Classroom where they were welcomed by the Stardome educator who shared all there is to know about the Solar System. He engaged the boys in an amazing demonstration to illustrate the sheer size of the universe, and the boys in turn astounded him with their knowledge of the Solar System.
Next, the boys were challenged to a quiz. Armed with an iPad and in small groups, they explored the variety of display and exhibits relating to astronomy and space travel to find answers.
Finally, the visit concluded with the immersive 360-degree live presenter-led show in the Planetarium. Tucked in their cosy reclined seats, the boys learnt about the milky way, identify planets and its features including the Matariki cluster while looking up against the hemispheric domed ceiling that is used as a screen onto which images of stars, planets, and other celestial objects were projected.
The boys were mesmerised by the presentation and movie in the Planetarium as can be seen and heard through their reaction and excitement. The demonstration enabled the boys to see how vast our universe is, and the movie enlightened them on the importance of preserving our beautiful planet rather than looking for another to live on.
Our Year 4 boys thoroughly enjoyed their first educational trip this year and we would like to thank our parent volunteers who helped support the trip.