JMU students bring space program to Boys & Girls Club this fall

james madison university jmuHoping to reach children who may not normally have an opportunity to learn about outer space on a college campus, James Madison University students are taking space education to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Each Wednesday from 4-5 p.m., JMU students are teaching lessons about space to students ages 9-12 in the Simms after school program run by the Boys & Girls Club. The lessons are modeled after the successful summer Space Explorers Camps run by the John C. Wells Planetarium.

“The Space Explorers program will provide our youth with an opportunity to engage in science in a whole new way,” said Lori Kizner, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs. “The science lessons and field trips to the planetarium will add to our STEM programming, as we prepare our youth for the world ahead.”

Shanil Virani, director of the planetarium, said JMU “looks like a foreign country” to some of the children in the after school program. “We’re trying to reach communities that otherwise may not have heard of us or there may be more of a barrier for them to come to the planetarium, so we wanted to go to them.”

The program also benefits JMU students who gain experience teaching science to children.

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