NEW HAVEN — Students at New Haven Elementary School took a rover mission to Mars, experienced the night sky, and donned alien eyes when COSI on Wheels visited the school Friday with its “Astounding Astronomy” program.
COSI, or the Center of Science and Industry, is based in Columbus, Ohio. The center has a number of on- and off-site based programs, including COSI on Wheels.
The event kicked off the Accelerated Reading program for the upcoming year, according to Jacque Richardson, fifth grade teacher and organizer of the event. Richardson said the theme of this year’s reading program is “Experiment with Reading.”
The day began with a 45-minute assembly for the entire student body. Richardson said the students enjoyed the assembly very much, and especially liked when the COSI representative shot off rockets in the gymnasium.
Students then broke off into groups, visiting hands-on scientific stations during their physical education period. There, the children could participate in activities like “What’s Holding You Down?,” which allowed them to discover that objects weigh different amounts on different celestial bodies. “Seeing Stars” gave students a better understanding of the stars they see at night and how astronomers use constellations to study space. “Spec—tacular,” let students identify the composition of distant stars using spectroscopy. Other hands-on activities included “Alien Eyes,” an experiment with colored filters, “Planetary Rotation,” “Remotely Operated Vehicles,” and more.
Approximately 20 parent volunteers attended a 7 a.m. training prior to the event. They then spent the day manning the hands-on activities.
Richardson said two additional special programs will be held during the school year. Students who have earned the needed points will be able to attend those events. Points are accumulated by reading and passing tests through the Accelerated Reading system.