Read about solar energy and then make a melty s’more using the sun and a magnifying glass.
Learn about the rotation of the Earth, then visit Durham’s Museum of Life and Science.
Fill a workbook with drawings of planets, then cook up a tortilla salad bowl for a snack.
Rising second and third graders accomplished all of these things during just one week of Peaceful Planet, a five-week summer program for 45 students from George Watts and Morehead Montessori elementary schools. Peaceful Planet, which is sponsored by the Duke Office of Durham & Regional Affairs and Duke Doing Good in the Neighborhood employee giving campaign, teaches “big history” topics such as the birth of the solar system as well as responsible citizenship traits such as compassion and community.
The young students read aloud in the morning as well as answer writing prompts, then participate in gardening, cooking and yoga exercises in the afternoon. The program is four days a week, and every Thursday, students go on a field trip to places that align with their lessons, from Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham.
This is Peaceful Planet’s third year, and George Watts teacher Carolina Musawwir has coordinated the program since the beginning.
“I work with second-language learners at our school and I work with kids who need extra support with reading,” Musawwir said. “I’m very aware of their needs and believe that this is what they need to be doing during the summer, because it’s not just academic. It’s having experiences and being immersed in the (English) language.”
See what Peaceful Planet students experience in the classroom as well as on a June 29 field trip to the Museum of Life and Science: