On Monday evening, April 23, Mrs. Zahansky arranged for the grade 4 children to extend their understanding of the Sun, Earth, and Moon by organizing an evening visit to the Pomfret School Olmsted Observatory to look at the moon and the stars with Pomfret School's Astronomy teacher Josh Lake.
Each spring, the children look forward to this experience as they can stay after school, play together, and get their homework done as the sun is setting. This year, the children chose to get dinner at Giant Pizza, and ordered pizza, cheesy sticks, and Mac and Cheese bites, from the many selections. While the yummy food and dessert was delivered, the children got comfy in front of the Smart TV to watch the movie, Hidden Figures, which connects to their learning because it talks about how John Glenn was the first man in space and tells the story of the "hidden" women who were essential to getting him there in the 1960's.
At dusk, Mr. Lake welcomed the children into the Observatory classroom on a beautiful clear evening and answered many of their questions about the specific planet that each student has chosen to become experts in. We learned about the Hubble Telescope, that the distance between each planet is measured in astronomical units, the size of the universe, and that Mr. Lake's favorite current astrology topic is to inspire us to help him find the 9th planet.
The children ascended the staircase to the telescope and were able to electronically maneuver the roof open, revealing the night sky with the quarter moon taking center stage. Audible gasps were heard as the children each took a turn at the viewfinder to see the luminous moon, close-up. As the evening came to an end, Mr. Lake took us outside in the dark to view the constellations using his laser pointer. For many of them, it was a once in a lifetime experience that will leave a lasting impression for many years to come. We are so grateful to Mr. Lake for allowing us to take a peek into his passion for the Universe, and inspire us to follow our North Star!