Students Learn About Space at Inflatable Planetarium


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inflatable planetariumPreschool students in Luzerne County Head Start and Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development programs in Pennsylvania were treated to a visit to an inflatable planetarium recently.

Children attended the “Growing Up Great Together Planetarium” at PNC Field. From the outside, the inflatable planetarium looked like a giant igloo. Inside, children were greeted by some of their favorite characters from Sesame Street.

The preschoolers watched “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Big Adventure.” The show was created by Sesame Workshop to promote cross-cultural appreciation and to introduce the students to astronomy.

Big Bird and Elmo introduced children to the ideas of constellations and the universe. The preschoolers looked up at the 360-degree screen surrounding them. Children answered questions, counted, and sang along with the characters from Sesame Street in the film.

The program also introduced a character from the Chinese version of Sesame Street, who taught the children some words in Mandarin, talked about cultural differences in China, and took a trip to the moon with Elmo.

The planetarium is part of “Grow Up Great,” a multi-year, $350 million bilingual program started by PNC Bank in 2004. The inflatable planetarium is transported to early education centers and other places where children might not have the opportunity to visit a traditional planetarium.

Approximately 300 preschoolers attended the show in the inflatable planetarium over a period of two days. The program’s organizers hope that the planetarium show will make children curious and encourage them to ask questions as they head into school.

Last year, three inflatable planetarium exhibits traveled to 37 markets in 16 states and the District of Columbia. About 26,000 students attended approximately 1,100 shows over a period of 230 days.

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