Forty-five Hartshorne seventh grade GEAR UP recently toured the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Membership Coordinator Madeline Butler began by dividing the students into two groups in an effort to ensure students a better learning environment.
Planetarium Manager Bryan Kyle began his portion of the tour in the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium. Students watched a movie, “Stars,” on a full-dome screen. Kyle discussed the night sky and educated students on the difference between the colors of the stars. The hottest stars appear blue, while the coldest stars appear red. In the past, students may have heard about twinkling stars as in the song, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” but learned stars do not twinkle. The appearance of twinkling is created by a distortion in the atmosphere.
Students heard about constellations or group of stars which appear to form a pattern in the stars. They learned constellations are never in the same place from day to day, as the Earth moves from east to west. A person may only see 20 or 30 of the 80 constellations on any given night, with individuals from different areas of the Earth witnessing different constellations.
Students viewed images of the Orion Nebula approximately 1400 light years from Earth. Orion was formed when a large star exploded and obliterated everything around it. Material was left resulting in the formation of stars and the Orion Nebula.
Volunteer Larry Dodson led students on a tour through the W. H. Helmerich Exhibit Hall. Dodson encouraged students interested in aviation and the aerospace industry to seek careers in the field, stating he never felt he had a job as he was able to work in a field he loved. Dodson further reminded students of the many career paths one could choose while working in the field including studying aerodynamics, becoming a pilot, or a mechanic.
Students viewed a balloon tethered in Tulsa in 1897. The balloon was the first time individuals in Tulsa had seen anyone fly. Students enjoyed the interactive Rockwell Ranger 2000 exhibit. The exhibit allowed students to climb into the cockpit of the plane and learn what sharing a cockpit with another pilot would be like.
Students also viewed the Grumman F-14A Tomcat after being told this was the type of plane from the movie Top Gun. The plane required afterburners to sustain supersonic speed.
Students were provided lunch catered by Mazzio’s Pizza while at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Students enjoyed the food provided while conversing about the exhibits and information obtained during the tour.
“The Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium provided a unique learning experience for Hartshorne’s GEAR UP students,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Stephanie Dow. “Students were able to learn about aerospace and aviation and how they relate to knowledge received in the classroom.”
“A sincere thanks to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium for making the tour a success for these students,” Dow added. “Students are able to broaden their knowledge of career paths and interest in STEM-related fields while having fun.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, EOSC received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.