Portable planetarium set up


POTOMAC, Ill. (WCIA) — A traveling planetarium visited town Monday, September 16. The Curiosity Dome was set up in the Potomac Grade School’s gym in the morning and will remain open until 3 pm.

The Curiosity Dome was developed by Rice University and the Houston Museum of Natural Science with NASA’s support. It’s designed to focus on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics).

Students had no idea when they arrived at school what was waiting in the gym.

“When the kids were outside, we told them there would be something different when they came in,” Principal Candace Freeman said. “They got to see the Curiosity Dome and everyone was kind of excited.”

The dome gives students a look at everything from planets millions of miles away to habitats on Earth. Fifth graders learned about Apollo 11 by watching a short movie on the walls of the Curiosity Dome. Superintendent Jim Owens remembers learning about it a little differently.

“I remember sitting in front of the TV in black and white and watching when they landed on the moon,” he said.

And while Owens acknowledges space exploration may seem a little less novel to children today, he’s thrilled the dome is reintroducing that giant leap to his students.

“One day they might be an astronaut or they could be in the area of space and science,” Owens said.

All it takes is one small step.

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