Zoe Harwood, 10, has always wanted to become an astronomer.
When she discovered that a space exhibit was coming to her Richmond elementary school gym for an evening program, she stayed late to attend.
“It’s all about the stuff I’ll need to know for my future career,” said Harwood matter-of-factly, as she poked marshmallows onto a 3D model of the constellation Orion.
Harwood and more than 350 Richmond students and their parents crowded into the Wilson Elementary School gym Thursday evening for a hands-on, traveling science exhibit hosted by For Richmond, a local service and outreach organization, and the Chabot Space & Science Center.
Students, siblings and their parents enjoyed free lasagna, catered by Richmond-based Snazz Enterprises, as they learned how the solar system and celestial bodies work. Children and parents played with hands-on materials at the “Solar System Jewelry” and “3D Marshmallow Constellation” booths, built construction paper rockets and took a tour of the constellations in Chabot’s portable planetarium.
The free, family-friendly event is the first in a series of traveling Chabot-to-go exhibits at elementary schools organized by For Richmond, which is working to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs in Richmond schools.
Guided by to belief that the future of Richmond children depends on improving the quality of education , For Richmond will be organizing this and other educational opportunities throughout the year with the goal of increasing academic performance and enabling children to be college and career ready.
The Chabot-To-Go program was developed by the Chabot center to support curriculum by bringing traveling science fairs to local school sites.
“Our students need a steady diet of science and math if they’re going to be ready for the world beyond their classrooms,” said Madeline Kronenberg, board president of the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the Education chair for the For Richmond coalition.
“Programs like Chabot-to-go dovetail with the curriculum taught in our classrooms and provide additional opportunities for students to learn and explore,” Kronenberg said.
Richmond resident John Fanaika brought his two children, ages 3 and 4, to the event after he saw an announcement in his daughter’s preschool class.
“We came out here for the learning experience,” Fanaika said. “I want my kids to be exposed to more stuff than I was.”
For information visit 4Richmond.org.