JONESBOROVE — Laughter erupted from outside the huge silver dome as Jonesboro Elementary School students enjoyed the unique SkyDome Planetarium experience hosted by MicroSociety Elementary School this week at the school gym in Jonesboro.
MicroSociety assistant director Franklin Teague said on Wednesday that the event was the first to be held to help complete the study of the solar system in schools this year.
“All of our JPS from first to third grade this year have been working their way through the solar system,” Teague said, noting that students have learned about everything from planets and stars to constellations and the Greek mythological characters within them.
The three-day event began on Wednesday and will run until Friday, with buses running every hour to ensure every campus has the opportunity to visit the planetarium.
“The SkyDome gives our students hands-on experience with the solar system,” he said.
During the presentation, the navigator, using a digital planetarium projector and a laser pointer, guides students through the northern hemisphere stars exactly as they appear on the day of the presentation, according to Marcy Cheatham, director of marketing and communications at JPS. .
Students will also learn how to identify each planet in the solar system in dramatic “flights” to each world, she said.
In addition, they will be able to view the night sky at different times of the year and from different global perspectives, Cheatham added.
“It takes a lot of planning to make things like this possible for our students,” Teague said, noting that the school is outsourcing the planetarium to Mobile Ed SkyDome Productions for $1,300 a day, but the event requires a lot of coordination.
Teague said the creation of the planetarium would not have been possible without the efforts of the school’s educator team, which organized the event, which includes MicroSociety educators Angela Murphy and Jennifer Williams, and MicroSociety school improvement specialist Kimberly Newcomb.
Teague said it was all worth it to see the children’s faces.
“It really brought out the ‘children’ in the kids,” he laughed.
“We are always looking for ways to give kids hands-on experience,” Teague continued, noting that the school also encourages community members who want to help provide hands-on experience for students.
“Learning should be fun,” he said.
According to Murphy and Williams, who were on duty at the entrance to the dome on Wednesday, the kids seem to agree.
“That was so much fun,” Murphy laughed. “Kids keep telling us they want to go to school here now and bring their parents.”
“Yeah, the kids told us it was the coolest thing in the world,” Williams agreed.