Children celebrate asteroid day at Richmond science center
Many children and parents spent the afternoon getting lost in space with student astronauts and searching for dinosaur bones to celebrate Asteroid Day at the James E. Richmond Science Center on Friday.
The center offered numerous science-learning experiences through educational videos and hands-on activities. Its unique 60-foot diameter Dome Theater gave visitors a surrounding view of featured films on asteroids, allowing them to feel immersed in the virtual atmosphere of space.
Asteroid Day is aimed to bring awareness of the possibility of a harmful asteroid-related event happening on Earth and “to bring to light the fact that we are just not prepared,” said Jack Belle, instructional resource teacher at the Science Center.
“This is our third year open and this is the first year we are doing Asteroid Day; this is the first year it’s being internationally celebrated,” he said. “We wanted to have something in the afternoon that kids could enjoy.”
The James E. Richmond Science Center, located within St. Charles High School in Waldorf, gets visitors from not only Charles County schools but others as well. It has programs for students from preschool to 12th grade, which coincides with what they are learning in their science classes with hands-on activities in the discovery lab and the Science on a Sphere and Dome Theater showings, Bell explained.
The center also offers STEM camps during the summer for students fourth to eighth grades, which focuses on different science, technology, engineering and math topics each week.
Kevin Barry of La Plata returned to the center for Asteroid Day with his two daughters, Brynn, 5, and Madelynn, 4. Barry said he frequently brings his girls to have fun participating in the activities.
“There are a lot of different activities here, and it’s getting the kids interested in science and it keeps their minds going even when the school year is not in,” Barry said.
Events like Asteroid Day are held at least once a month, Belle said. There are also Summer Thursday Theme Nights, which feature showings of films for different topics. The next upcoming theme is Forensics Night, scheduled for July 13 at 6:45 p.m.
Rachel Boarman of Leonardtown also returned to the Science Center for Asteroid Day with her children. “The activities are different each time and the kids think it’s really interesting,” Boarman said.
“[During the summer] we try to make sure we have different programs so kids don’t get in the habit of sleeping in and laying around; here they will get mental exercise,” director Monique Wilson said.
Ada Donohue, 10, of White Plains, learned about asteroids for the first time at the Science Center Friday. “It’s fun to come here and learn about things you normally wouldn’t talk about,” Donohue said. “I learned about the future of asteroids and how they are going to collect data from one asteroid and I’ll get to see that when I am older.”
Children constructed a fake skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex during Asteroid Day at the James E. Richmond Science Center.
Parents and children watch videos about Earth and the environment on the Science on a Sphere at Asteroid Day at the James E. Richmond Science Center on Friday.
Anna Boarman, 9, of Leonardtown, worked with artificial bones to reconstruct a Tyrannosaurus during Asteroid Day at the James E. Richmond Science Center.