Instead of visiting "a galaxy far, far away," 6th graders brought outer space to the South Campus. With guidance from 6th Grade Science Teacher Rachel Giampapa and Innovation Lab Director Meagan Michael, students researched, wrote, filmed, and produced short educational videos about specific astronomy topics. Then, once their videos were compiled, the students held a watch party inside a planetarium they constructed themselves.
"We thought of the idea of creating the planetarium back in September. I had only created a planetarium out of butcher paper before, so creating the planetarium out of a black tarp, tape, and a fan was also an experiment for me," said Ms. Michael. "The hardest part was figuring out how it would all fit in the Makerspace classroom area."
Ms. Giampapa led the charge regarding the content in the video.
"We brainstormed ways to further engage the students in an astronomy unit. I divided the unit into 23 universe topics and created 23 respective research outlines. Each topic had 2-3 students researching and learning fun facts. From there, the students created scripts for 50-70 second videos about their topic, then recorded and produced the video," said Ms. Giampapa.
The girls worked at the speed of light, creating their videos and constructing the planetarium, all in five school days.
"I was so impressed with the quality, creativity, and humor in the scripts, as well as with how confident they were in editing their videos," said Ms. Giampapa.
The students had a watch party to enjoy the videos before heading to Huntsville the next day, where they visited the INTUITIVE Planetarium at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
"They knew the answers to all of the trivia questions at the planetarium in Huntsville!" said Ms. Giampapa.
The students excitedly embraced the space topics, and both teachers credited the fun way the information was presented.
"The students loved researching and discovering the coolest facts," said Ms. Giampapa. "It shows that if you present learning in a way that excites them, the students soar with it."
Ms. Michael affirmed that it was a terrific learning experience for all, including other teachers, as it showed them how the Makerspace can be used.
"It was amazing to use the space in a really cool way, said Ms. Michael. "Hopefully, students and teachers see this room as a place where they can be creative and bring their ideas to life."
- Middle School