Save the dates. Insight Astronomy, located at The Square on South Virginia Avenue, is hosting two free events.
Kids’ Day is scheduled 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. The event targets elementary school-age children and will feature eight stations to learn about astronomy. Leading the workshop are Cyndi Shaver and Jane Lynn Squires.
“We’ll be doing things like marshmallow constellations, Alka Seltzer rockets and spray paint solar systems,” Shaver said.
Also on the agenda are pocket solar systems, UV bead bracelets, rotation/revolution kits, solar system coloring kits and solar scope totes.
Participating kids will receive a tote to start their station rotation. At each station, the will receive a gift in addition to the activity they will compete.
The idea for the one-day learning workshop stems from plans for Shaver and Squires – sisters, both Solar System Ambassadors with NASA – to host a summer camp through Bridgeport Parks and Recreation during summer 2020.
“That fell through like everything else did this year,” Shaver said. “Since Jeremy opened Insight Astronomy – where all the telescopes and other equipment is available – we decided it was a good opportunity to start having some community events free to kids.”
A NASA jet Propulsion Laboratory volunteer, adjunct professor at West Virginia University and deaf/hearing impaired teacher with Harrison County schools, Shaver also heads up the Junior Central Appalachian Astronomy Club. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club met monthly at Bridgeport’s St. Barnabus Episcopal Church.
With a niche for teaching children, that’s the way she and Squires share the latest astronomy information received through NASA.
“As ambassadors, we attend webinars to keep up with knowledge, then go out and share it,” she said. “We are tasked by NASA to come up with activities to keep the community informed. The way I do it is through kids’ activities, but every ambassador does it differently.”
Shaver also receives stickers, posters and other handouts through NASA. Some of those items will be implemented into Kids’ Day.
The event will take place outdoors, in the parking lot of Insight Astronomy. Social distancing will be observed, and numbers will be limited at each station. Registration is not necessary. Children in kindergarten through 5th grade are encouraged to attend.
Shaver hopes the Junior Central Appalachian Astronomy club will resume meetings soon, possibly in October. Those meetings will also take place at Insight Astronomy.
Plans are also in the works for an Observe the Moon Night on Sat., Sept. 26. Telescopes will be set up in the parking lot for public viewing of the moon. Details will follow regarding the family event.
Stay up to date on the Insight Astronomy Facebook page.
See Solar System Ambassador information for Jane Lynn Squires and Cyndi Shaver here: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system-ambassadors/events/