Kate Smith Elementary held the first annual Astronomy Night on January 29th. Fifth graders have been studying space, including moon phases, for several weeks, so students were given a hands-on learning experience this particular night. Mr. Rackley, fifth grade science teacher, had the idea to invite students and their families to spend the evening at KMS learning about space and the moon phases together. With the help of his fellow science teacher, Becki Franklin, Principal Lesa Burdeshaw, and several other parent and teacher volunteers, Mr. Rackley was able to bring this idea to fruition.
Students and their families gathered at KMS to hear guest speaker, Astronomy instructor Dr. Jeff Bodart from Chipola College, discuss space and telescopes. Then families went outside and enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies while viewing the moon and other celestial bodies through three high resolution telescopes. Students excitedly waited in line to see the moon’s features, which they have been learning about in class. Parents eagerly participated as well, asking questions of the students and teachers. Chipola Science club member, Colby Hargrove, helped student Asher Holt see the moon’s craters through one of the telescopes. As he looked, Asher shared how those moon craters come to be. “Astroids crash into the moon, taking out chunks. The deeper the chunk, the darker the crater appears.”
Overall, this was an excellent experience for KMS fifth graders and staff. Mr. Rackley expressed his desire to expand this experience to more grade levels next year. Principal Burdeshaw said of the experience, “I was pleased at the turnout. Mr. Rackley showed a lot of initiative in organizing this and reaching out to Chipola College to come help. Special thanks to Becki Franklin and Vickie Holt for helping out. The children and adults seemed to really have a lot of fun using the telescopes.”