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Sixth-graders ElnishMcIntyre (left) Dayauni Harris Jasmine Mart talk with visitors Digital Planetarium Community Day program Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for

Sixth-graders Elnisha McIntyre (left), Dayauni Harris and Jasmine Martin talk with visitors to the Digital Planetarium Community Day program at Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls in Gary. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Students at Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls in Gary hosted a Digital Planetarium Community Day Feb. 14 to showcase their science projects revolving around the Milky Way.

The event included a skit, “Welcome to the Milky Way,” that was produced and directed by the kindergarten classes, and a tour of exhibits, class projects and a traveling blue inflatable planetarium where students and adults watched a digital presentation about the solar system.

“The planetarium was loaned to us from the Northwest Indiana Educational Service Center in Highland,” said sixth-grade science teacher Yvonne Lucas.

Lucas, first-grade science teacher Gaisha Williams and kindergarten teacher Antonio Escebedo worked with fellow teachers on the projects. Principal Pearl Prince said it was a schoolwide project that was also required to prepare for the Acuity Science Diagnostic Test Course Sequence for the remainder of the school year.

“The kindergarten and first-graders got assistance from the sixth- and seventh-graders on using the computers to research for their projects,” Prince said. “It looked so cute seeing some of the older children holding the younger students in their laps in front of the computers working together.

“The kindergarten students are going to plant a garden in the spring and they will teach the older kids about compost and creating a garden,” she added.

One of the displays was a row of sixth-grade “galaxy realtors” trying to get guests to sign their tablet agreeing to live on their planet.

Ariel Keith, 11, passed out a card and showed off her homemade sun.

“Did you know that the sun travels 186,000 miles per second? And that the sun is 4.5 billion years old?” she asked.

Meanwhile, A’frika Williams, 11, was selling Mars as the planet to go to.

“Did you know that Mars is named after the ancient Roman
god of war, Aries? Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and because of its red color, ancient Chinese
astronomers dubbed it ‘The Fire Star,’ ” A’frika said.



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