Switch, Salmon Public Library STEM Programming division, recently finished up a great two week unit on Stars / Constellations with Pioneer Elementary’s 5th Graders, this time with award money from a grant thanks in part to Idaho STEM ACTION Center. The two-week unit saw youth teams choose a constellation that would appear in the northern hemisphere during the winter months of which to present. During this deep dive examination into a particular constellation, students had the opportunity to practice a well-rounded skillset from English Language Art skills in the documentation, writing, and presenting of information they accumulated, to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills required to build parallel paper circuits, complete with a switch, that turned on their LED constellation in the night sky (black construction paper).
These projects were presented to families of the 5th Grade students in a Star Gazing event at Sacajewa Cultural Arts Center. The night featured a fantastic presentation by local Science enthusiast, Allen Marquette, on Orion’s Belt, as well as opportunities to view the night sky with the help of hobbyist astronomer Mike Swenson and Allen Marquette’s telescopes. Participants that braved the cold were treated to star gazing snacks as they took in the craters of the moon, the bright twinkle of Venus, and the international space station that flew overhead. Youth also had the opportunity to impart their knowledge of their own constellations they discovered by assisting parents and volunteers in navigating the awe-inspiring night sky.
A few lucky winners took home their own STEM door prizes to extend their learning into the home, but in reality, we were all winners last night with the hard work and effort of the teachers and students of Pioneer Elementary’s 5th Grade class.