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If you haven’t been the BYU Planetarium, you really should. It is a unique experience that allows people to obtain a greater grasp on the complexities of the universe. Sunset View sixth graders had just this opportunity on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.

Since the beginning of the school year, the sixth graders at Sunset View have been learning about the structure and motion within our solar system. Students began by drawing out models and then building those models. From there, acting out the models and viewing a few videos helped those same students compare the vast differences in planet sizes. Lance Vandermark, a sixth grade teacher at Sunset View, says, “We went to the planetarium for one more chance at exposure to our content through a highly visual display of the planets, and their orbits around the sun.”

Students sat back and watched as the ceiling above them was transformed into the stars and planets they had learned. Size differences among the planets became more concrete in students’ minds as they visually saw what they had been learning in the classroom. “Through their large screens they can help portray how truly massive some of these objects are in comparison to others. We can’t come close to that with our classroom boards and computer screens,” explains Vandermark.

This field trip was highly successful because students were able to share ideas and thoughts outside of the classroom. Not only this, but visiting a university generated discussions about attending college, how to apply for college, and what doors a college degree can open.

Giving students a way to visualize and understand lessons is important, and Provo City School District is proud to have teachers and students that make these experiences possible.

Shalee Hiskey
  • Shalee Hiskey