Stars big and bright at WITC
(5/19/11): A portable planetarium recently gave Wisconsin
Indianhead Technical College Early Childhood Education students a look at the
night sky during the day and indoors.
Invited by WITC science instructor Wendy Dusek, Paul Kinzer
brought his portable planetarium “Starlab” to the college campus.
Kinzer’s Web site describes Starlab as “an opaque inflatable dome with an
entrance tunnel, 18 by 21 feet across and 11 feet high, that seats about 15-20
adults or 30 children.
“In the center of the dome, a projector with
interchangeable charts projects a rotating image onto the inner surface of the
dome. It displays more than a thousand stars and the Moon, for any time of any
day of the year. It also shows the appearance of the sky from anywhere between
the equator and the North Pole.”
Students also listened to Kinzer explain constellation
outlines, both modern and ancient, and viewed slides of the Earth, Moon,
planets, the Milky Way, and various deep-space objects.
Dusek coordinated the demonstration with WITC instructor
Mary Williams-Greene in an effort to show students different teaching methods in
early childhood education.
“Kinzer has various presentations geared for different
ages,” says Williams-Greene. “He makes his talk interactive, so children get a
hands-on approach to learning about the night sky. This is effective for our
students to witness and experience various ways to teach very young children