Planetarium at Burnt Chimney

Student Heath Montgomery uses a worksheet to guide him as he pokes holes in the inside of a plastic sheet to create a constellation.

Area homeschooled students had the opportunity to see the stars during a unique indoor activity at Crosspointe Church in Burnt Chimney on Nov. 12.

Classical Conversations of Franklin County has been hosting weekly group meetings to provide an opportunity for homeschooled students to come together. The most recent project had students creating their own constellations inside a homemade planetarium.

Judy Wisler, program director, constructed the planetarium using a 100-foot long and 25-foot wide plastic sheet folded in half and taped together. At one corner an industrial fan blew air into the sheet to allow room for people to walk around. A small opening was also cut into one side to allow people to enter and exit.

“They are always going to remember this,” said Heidi Morris, program co-director, as the students entered the planetarium.

Students were given headlamps and asked to pick out their favorite constellation from a group of worksheets. Then they entered the planetarium and created the constellation by poking holes in the plastic sheet with a toothpick. Once the students finished creating their constellations, they turned off their headlamps, and the light from outside shined through the holes.

“I thought it was pretty,” said Ana Wisler, one of the students who participated.

The planetarium was the last of an ongoing series of classes on space. Parents taught students about space along with other subjects during the week and then brought them to Crosspointe Church for one class a week.

For some of the students, it provided a way for them to get a better look at what they had been learning.

“It was like in real space,” Spencer Schad said. “I wish I was in a rocket and could fly around in there.”