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Digital Universe Unit With AMNH-Hayden Planetarium Kicks Off

The second year of our unique partnership with the American Museum of Natural History-Hayden Planetarium kicked off on Friday when the sixth grade had their first session of the Digital Universe unit. The session included a private viewing at the planetarium in which boys were able to explore the entire universe. They and their teachers were invited to view the show from the vantage point of the floor in the center of the round theater, staring up into the apex of the dome. What an amazing perspective!

Museum educator and astro-visualization expert Nathan Belomy took the boys on a tour of the observable universe, allowing them to get a feel for the scale of distance and size in the universe.

In a fun activity related to scale, the boys set down  a volleyball (representing the sun) at 79th Street, and walked for blocks down Columbus avenue with the planets in our solar system represented by a variety of smaller objects – a cupcake sprinkle, a marble – predicting and then measuring and accurately placing the “planets” at their correct distances.

The boys also had a quick tour of AMNH's proprietary UniView software, which they will use to navigate through space using real-time astronomical data. By the end of this unit, our boys will have researched astronomy-related questions, written, and created their own space shows that explore their topics, and presented them in the Hayden Planetarium for their parents.

One of the many ways that an education at Saint David's moves beyond 89th Street, our collaboration with the AMNH-Hayden Planetarium is a one-of-a-kind partnership between the museum and a school. It is a deeply integrated ongoing collaboration of our teachers with the museum's educators and astro-visualization team, which provides our boys with private access to the planetarium and the Digital Universe software.  An amazing STEAM experience!



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