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The Kidspace Star Lab Inflatable Planetarium

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Many of us may never have an opportunity to be among the stars.  Unless you are a crew member at the International Space Station, you are grounded on Earth, only imagining the wonders of our solar system—until now!  Kidspace presents an opportunity to experience our galaxy without blasting through the stratosphere.  Our Star Lab inflatable planetarium allows aspiring astronauts to participate in engaging discussions about our solar system, constellations, and even some of the mythological stories the stars have inspired.

 

Our history documents a curiosity in space as early as the Ice Age.  Even now, our smart phones come with apps to show us constellations and patterns of the sun and moon.  In the second century an Egyptian mathematician by the name of Claudius Ptolemy wrote a Greek treatise entitled Mathēmatikē Syntaxis (later known in English as Almagest) on what he observed to be the motion of the stars and the paths followed by the planets as they orbit around the sun.  Fast-forward to the spring of 2012 and you’ll find Kidspace’s own out-of-this-world experience for kids of all ages.

 

Although the educational program that accompanies the planetarium is written based on the 3rd grade science Content Standards, Kidspace is able to bring this experience to children in any elementary school grade level, even pre-school.  Museum educators have introduced the Star Lab at local schools’ Family Festivals, Parent Nights, and Back to School events.  During the summer, the planetarium will visit two local public libraries and provide small “tours” to all library patrons.  Library guests will be able to read about the stars and constellations and then enter the planetarium to enjoy our solar system up close.  Museum Educators introduce standard constellations to Star Lab visitors and they also share cultural anecdotes to accompany each star group, including Greek, African, and Native American stories.  With inflatable models of our planets, Kidspace Educators teach about our solar system and answer many questions, including our favorite: why is Pluto not a planet? (Kidspace Board member Dr. Mike Brown can be blamed for this.  You can learn more in his book titled How I Killed Pluto, and Why it Had it Coming.)

 

The Star Lab planetarium program supports the Museum’s commitment to experiential learning.  Kidspace realizes the invaluable work that is performed by teachers in the classroom and aims to support their hard work by being an educational destination where children can learn by experiencing the world around them.  Although we may not be able to shuttle our guests to really play among the stars—not yet at least—we can bring the stars to them.  If you would like more information about how Kidspace can bring the Star Lab to your school or group, please visit our groups webpage at: http://www.kidspacemuseum.org/teachers-groups/starlab

 


Blog Entry by: Marco Calderón is an Education Manager at Kidspace Children’s Museum.  He has been with Kidspace since March of 2011; prior to that he spent six years as a high school teacher.  He holds a B.A. from CSUN and a M.A. from LMU.