Newton School employs virtual reality for science lessons

  • Students in Meaghan's 2nd grade class at the Newton School in Greenfield exit the 'dome' inflatable theater erected in the gym on Monday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Students in Meaghan Power’s 2nd grade class at the Newton School in Greenfield are immersed in visuals of dinosaurs in the ‘dome’ inflatable theater erected in the gym on Monday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Students in Meaghan's 2nd grade class at the Newton School in Greenfield are immersed in visuals of dinosaurs in the 'dome' inflatable theater erected in the gym on Monday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/19/2018 5:48:41 PM

GREENFIELD — Dinosaurs were roaming the grounds of Meaghan Power’s second-grade classroom Monday morning.

“Meteor!” her students yelled as one seemed to be coming their way.

Inside a portable, inflatable planetarium-like theater in the Newton School gym, classes learned more about different science lessons — from rocket ships to the universe, from the planet’s environment to the history of dinosaurs.

Principal Melodie Goodwin had been trying to get The Dome Theater to come to Newton School for the past couple of years. She learned about this group that travels across the country via a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) email list.

For the first year, Goodwin’s school got a planetarium experience for its students, with the help of grant money.

“It’s awesome. It’s like a movie theater,” Brannon Smith, 8, said. “I want to go in there next year.”

Power’s students reacted throughout the film, engaged with what they were learning.

“I like the interactivity,” Power said. “They were really interested in seeing all of the different dinosaurs.”

Flashing across the screen were dinosaurs and science lessons, facts about how they evolved and eventually went extinct.

“I thought it was really cool because it made you feel like you were actually moving with it,” Nia Barton, 8, said.

Power said the students learned about dinosaurs and fossils earlier in the year, so “it was nice to bring that connection back.”

Taevonn Serrano-Page, 8, offered that his biggest takeaway was, “You always have to run away from stuff if it’s about to hit you,” like a meteor. Luckily for Taevonn on Monday morning, it was only a digital image of meteors coming his way and outside the dome theater was just his usual Newton School.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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