|Siri Baker shows of her sun|
Here comes the sun
You’ll find yourself looking for your shades and the SPF 30 while walking down the hallway passed Samantha Miller’s first grade room. About 20 vibrant and crazy-bright paintings of the sun decorate the wall outside the class. The work of the first-graders is striking, with colors seemingly straight off the palette of pop artist Peter Max.
SUN FACT: The average distance between Earth and the sun is 93 million miles
The paintings are the culmination of a recent unit on space that combined science and language arts. The students first read an informational article about the moon in their Journeys textbooks. (Journeys, the district’s new comprehensive language arts program at the elementary level, frequently incorporates elements from science and social studies.) The class then went one step further and focused its attention on the most prominent celestial body in our sky: the sun. The students read a variety of texts about our nearest star and then as a class listed on the board what that they had learned.
SUN FACT: It takes light generated from the sun more than eight minutes to reach Earth.
Then it was time to practice their own informational writing. Using some of the facts that they found most interesting and significant, the students wrote short essays about the sun and detailed why it was important for our planet.
SUN FACT: The surface of the sun is about 10,000 degrees Farenheit.
The students finished the unit by creating their wildly colorful paintings.
“These types of hands-on creative activities really make learning memorable,” said Ms. Miller. “The unit comes at the perfect time. We had a dreary endless winter and the paintings are a reminder for the kids that summer is right around the corner."
This summer, something bold and imaginative is coming to Mount Olive. The district will introduce Innovation Station, a two-week-long program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Designed for students in grades 1–8, Innovation Station features hands-on learning in various topics ranging from CSI-style investigative technology and kite flying that teaches the fundamentals of flight, to rocketry and robotics.
“STEM isn’t the future, it’s the present,” said Dr. Larrie Reynolds, Superintendent of Schools. “Innovation Station will teach students the principles of STEM and also show how fun they are to apply. The goal is to inspire kids to explore their scientific interests and expand their curiosity. More and more careers will involve STEM and this program will help better prepare students for the world that they’ll live in as adults.”
The program will run from July 28 to August 8 at Mount Olive Middle School. Tuition is $200 per week and includes free transportation for Mount Olive students. Before and afterschool care will be available through the Mount Olive Child Care and Learning Center at an additional cost.
"STEM is the future for our economy and we need to encourage students to think, explore, and create within these subjects," said Peter Hughes, Director of Curriculum and Instruction. "I'd love to take all the workshops myself. Who doesn't want to fly a drone or launch a rocket?"
The deadline to register is May 15.
For more information and to register, go to http://www.mtoliveboe.org/summercamp.