This being the last full week of Encounters in Outer Space, arrangements for the last week will start on Sunday, May 10th as Robert Strong of the Wheeling Smart Science Centre will give a presentation on the dwarf planet titled “Poor, Pathetic Pluto.” It will be an in depth analysis on why it was removed from the “classic” planets in the solar system and moved into the dwarf planet category.
“The Strong’s, who have been instrumental in the success of the exhibit and enrichment programs related to space, will make their final appearance at the Recreation Complex this Sunday to discuss about Pluto,” related Director Mike Book. “This should be a well informative discussion and I am looking forward to hearing him speak. The admission is free and we hope all seats are filled.”
For the readers that do not know all that goes on during an enrichment program, let me take you through a work day when children arrive for their field day visit to the Harrison County Parks and Recreation.
In this example, I will use Nancy Cool, who brings 100 3rd grade students from Big Elm Elementary.
With arrival at 9:00 am, the staff greets the students at the door and directs them to the main area in the first floor of the recreation complex. Kids sit in front of our 90-inch television as Book begins to start a journey that includes a breakdown of the planets in the solar system, all on the big screen.
The 30-minute presentation includes all the planets, as well as our Moon, and the structural composition of each planet as well as some fun facts for the kids to enjoy.
The group then breaks into groups and goes through 40-minute rotations that include rocketry (both straw and paper), science and how it is affected by the planets as well as telescopes and a presentation on the moon. Either the parents or the school provides lunch and the break is taken roughly around 11:00 am.
In rockets, kids build their own rocket made from drinking straws, construction paper and molding clay. After completion, the young space engineers test their rocket with our own launcher. With the proper air pressure, some have reached upwards of 18-feet in height and 30-feet in distance.
The paper rockets, which is made from construction paper and tape, receives just as much popularity, or even more, as they are launched outside in the parking lot of the facility. The best part is the kids can take them home with them to improve performance. And all the launching materials can be made from home with basic materials you have in the house.
“The hands-on activities during Space Encounters have been very successful as we allow the children to utilize their imagination in creating rockets or learning about the action and reaction in the space experiments. And finally, our indoor planetarium allows kids to learn about telescopes and the basics in operating them,” said Book.
The field day enrichment takes about 5-hours to complete from opening to last rotation, depending on travel or bus scheduling. And the kids not only leave with a better knowledge of what lies beyond the clouds of Earth, but they get to keep some of the projects they worked on during their day here.
“We have classes of all sizes come and visit during their scheduled field day,” said Book. “We have had upwards of 200 kids for one day (on a split schedule) and our staff does a great job of preparing prior to the visit. They know the material, and have all the stations prepped prior to the opening, and it leads to our success because of it.”
For more information about our Family Nights, please contact the HCPR or reference our Facebook page under Harrison Parks.