It was astronomy night at Georges P. Vanier on April 13, as a group of Grade 9 students used telescopes and iPads to peer into the heavens.
This activity was part of the space unit in science, one of the last for the school year.
“We want to give them a head start and some hands-on activities,” says Parker Bonnah who teaches science in Grades 7-12. “They have fun for the night and have good time.”
Prior to peering through the telescopes, the students learned how to calculate azimuth, altitude and triangulation and work with a home-made astrolabe. They also pointed iPads at the sky and a graph of the stars appear on the screen.
Prior to peering through the telescopes – consisting of one GPS-enable telescope and two reflecting telescopes – the students watched ‘The Martian’, which offers a lot of good concepts for astronomy and space travel, says Heather Servant, who also teaches Grade 7-12 science at GPV.
“The kids get engaged with space,” says Servant. “They love it. It gives us an opportunity to use telescopes that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”
Jonathon Taylor was one of the students to participate, commenting that it was a good learning experience. He thought about how small humanity is in the cosmos.
J’lyn Leganchuk was eager to learn how to track and name the stars using an iPad. Katelyn Kruger enjoyed learning how to work out distances using trigonometry.