Students studying under the stars

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News 12 This Morning/Friday April 4, 2014

RICHMOND CO., Ga. (WRDW)--Almost 20 years ago, Gregory Wilson trained to operate a star lab, which brings the night sky to students across Richmond County during their school day.

"I took that training at the science center when it was at Fort Gordon," said Wilson.

Now, a 2nd grade teacher at A. Brian Merry Elementary, he's putting that training to use again.

"One of our second grade standards is to study the night sky. This is an opportunity to see the night sky during the day," said Wilson. "And I think it's just absolutely phenomenal that Richmond County still has these things and that we still use them."

So students take their shoes off before they head in. Then, they crawl into another world.

"Students learn that the night sky. That things happen while they're sleeping. And that the stars don't just stay in the same fixed point," Wilson explained.

Aside from fulfilling state standards, teachers incorporate the star lab into history, math and science lessons.

"We also talk about the significance of the north star and the reason why people use it for navigation," said Wilson.

And he says, the lab also helps with critical thinking.

"Being able to imagine what the constellations look like and drawing the lines from point to point these are things that children, when they do, just really encourages their creativity and imagination," said Wilson.
"There's lots of our curriculum that takes so much of our time up and it's wonderful that the kids get to experience something that's fun and not only fun, but something that's intrinsic to their learning."

Every class at A. Brian is going through the lab on a half hour rotation and there are several different star formats for different age groups.

And the lab is something every school in Richmond County can use.

Just reach out to the Curriculum and Instruction Department at the superintendents office by calling: 706-826-1000

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