Family Science Night: Bright Stars, Brighter Futures

Written by Megan Byron

On January 17, 2020

As autumn came around and the ever blistering heat went down a few degrees in Charleston, it was officially time for another round of Family Science Nights. Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) hosts Family Science Nights in order to give the community that they serve an opportunity to come around the table to learn, laugh and enjoy a meal together.

This last fall, CPN partnered with Boeing and the South Carolina State Museum (SCSM) to teach the children of Mary Ford and Sanders Clyde Elementary Schools a thing or two about astronomy.

They began their night with a project using Oreo cookies to depict the different phases of the moon. (Yes, sugar rushes so high they were able to jump up and touch the moon itself!) The team at SCSM taught students about why these phases exist, the moon’s magical relationship with the sun, and other fun facts about that big glowing piece of cheese in the sky!

Afterwards, as if we weren’t already having an amazing time, families were able to go outside and look at the stars through actual telescopes with stargazing experts! As they looked through the telescope, as clear as if there were a sticker deceivingly stuck on the other end, you could see Saturn and its rings. Through another, they were able to witness the beloved double star, Albireo! (I encourage you to look it up yourself, it’s quite spectacular!)

Last, but never least, students and families had an opportunity to look at the moon, both with their naked eye and again through a telescope. They saw the shadowy seas, gaping craters and the debris from an asteroid strike. An absolutely stellar sight to see! And, to conclude the night, students, families, staff and volunteers were able to share a meal together.

It is so important that the students in our community are able to experience first-hand the opportunities that await them after high school. It is CPN’s hope that these young scholars, after experiencing the bright stars of our solar system, left with more knowledge than what they came with, as well as a sense of inspiration and hope for a bright future.

What does the future hold for our students? A job with Boeing or the South Carolina State Museum? A position on the International Space Station? Or, maybe a job at the Oreo factory is what sparked their attention? It’s all about the seeds that we plant, and we hope that we are doing just that with every opportunity that arises to engage with our students and families.