Tonight was the first meeting of the newly expanded Harrison Junior Astronomical Society. Forty-one students in grades two through six met with their teacher/sponsors, Ed Jarrett and Rick Glass. The men gave each student a folder of information which included a welcome letter, a glossary of astronomy terms, and the March Star Map.
The teachers also shared how they became interested in astronomy and how they encourage each other to learn new things. Mr. Jarrett likes to use his telescope and star charts to find new things in the night sky and Mr. Glass like to photograph the things Mr. Jarrett finds.
Mr. Jarrett used the Star Chart to show the students a few constellations and encouraged them to mark things they observe on their own charts.
The students were also shown how to use the charts to discover space objects they could see with their eyes, with telescopes, or with a telescope. The next meeting is schedules for after school on March 31.
We are pleased to announce the expansion of the Harrison Junior Astronomical Society. The organization originally began as a group of nine second grade students who had strong interest in astronomy. Since last October, they have been meeting several times a week during their lunch/recess hour. Mr. Glass has been leading the group and Mr. Jarrett has provided additional support and resources.
Among their accomplishments, the group has completed studies of Solar System and a number of nebulae and galaxies. Mr. Glass introduced the students to his friend Matthew Kuntz, a gifted/talented teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Oak Park, Illinois. Students from the two schools met through Skype and created a Wiki to share their combined learning. Their site can be visited at http://astronomyexplorers.wikispaces.com. The Harrison Junior Astronomical Society also has a Facebook page.
The students also conducted a fundraiser which was held during the Harrison School Carnival. Through the fundraiser and additional private donations, they were able to place an order for an 8" Dobsonian telescope from Orion Telescopes. They hope to take delivery in the next few weeks.
As word of the group's activities has spread, many additional students from multiple grades have expressed interest in joining them. Mr. Glass and Mr. Jarrett began to make plans to expand the activities and include additional students. Applications for membership are available at the school and from either of the teachers. The first official meeting of the expanded group will be Monday, March 17, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.