Students Travel to the Centre of the Universe

The Grade 3 students continued their study of space this week as they visited the Centre of the Universe, an educational centre at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. As part of the National Research Council’s astronomy outreach centre, the centre features interactive exhibits and educational experiences, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.

“We toured the enormous telescope that the astronomers use,” says teacher Mr. Brandon Hawes. “We visited the planetarium and learned about different constellations and how celestial objects move in the sky.”

The young students have been studying space by focusing on the Earth, particularly how it relates in size and distance to other cosmic objects, such as the sun and the moon. They have also learned how the Earth’s movement through space affects life on its surface.

“We’ve looked at how the rotation of the earth causes day and night and how the tilt of the earth causes the seasons,” explains Mr. Hawes.

In addition to their tour of the Plaskett Telescope and the multimedia show about our solar system, students were able to see a demonstration of space on Earth, as one of the presenters simulated a comet using dry ice and other materials. 

The Grade 3 class will be continuing their space studies by looking more closely at Earth’s neighbouring planets, the stars and different constellations.

Student Thoughts
“I learned that if you want to find the North Star, you look at the big dipper constellation and you draw a line through it and you have the North Star, and the North Star is part of the Little Dipper.” – Amrit

“I really liked the place where you get to see all the constellations.” – Madison

“I liked when they were showing us how to make a comet and when they put the dry ice in the water and the water started looking like how a volcano would explode.” – Karmen

“I thought that it was amazing how big the telescope was!” – Sara

“I wonder how heavy a star is?” – Joshua

“Some things I learned were number 1 that the roof of the telescope moved and number 2 they control the telescope by computers.” – Tucker


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