Lower Lake Students Learn at Observatory
January 26, 2017
Article appeared on 01/26/2017, Record Bee
KELSEYVILLE >> Students from Lower Lake Elementary School and teacher Carly Skunda spent four hours doing a wide variety of hands on science activities at Taylor Observatory on January 14 . This was all part of the new Saturday Science Program being offered by the Lake County Office of Education, the Children’s Museum of Art and Science and the Friends of Taylor Observatory. The program is free and open to students in grades 3-5.
As soon as they arrived they were ushered in to the Norton Planetarium where they saw a show on space history, astronauts, and the near and far galaxies. The day’s activities included building robots with lego kits, using magformer kits to build with magnets, experimenting with surface tension, and solar telescope viewing.
A new feature at this session was the addition of an interactive sand box.
Carolyn Ruttan, the Invasive Species Program Coordinator with the Lake County Water Resources Department, was on hand to talk with students about Clear Lake using the sand table as a model. A computer program which complements the table is able to create colors on the sand to show different elevations. The colors change as the sands are shifted. First Ruttan created Cobb Mountain, Mount Konocti, and Kelsey Creek.
She then discussed with students what they thought happened to the lake below when rain fell on the mountain tops. Students were able to think of both natural (soil, leaves) and polluting (cigarette butts, plastic bags) items which could flow into our lake. Ruttan stressed to students how important it is to keep quagga mussels out of our lake and how special Clear Lake is. Students were very impressed to learn that not only is it the oldest lake in North America, it may be the oldest in the world.
Adult volunteers commented throughout the session how rewarding it was to hear the excited “buzz” of students engaged in learning. Upper Lake Elementary students are scheduled to attend in February and Lakeport Elementary will get their turn in March.