Riverview High School is home to one of the few campus planetariums in the country. Now they're offering to students of all ages throughout Sarasota county, a very unique learning program. It begins with a locally produced planetarium show.
These fifth graders are about to learn more about their world, our environment and the animals we share it with. The premiere of Riverview's "Stars to Starfish" planetarium show happening this weekend. Riverview astronomy teacher Jason Mocherman is the planetarium's director. His father, the school's former astronomy teacher, wrote the show. "We developed Stars to Starfish, it's a 20 minute planetarium show that talks about the uniqueness of earth as being suitable for life," says Mocherman.
After taking in the stars, the students transition to the starfish in the nearby aquadome. Here, Riverview aqua-science students give the fifth graders a hands on look at the sea life they just learned about. "It's really fun because the kids, they get really excited from the video they see in the beginning and they actually get to see the same animals in the aquadome, so they're really excited," says Riverview student Alex Henderson. Fellow student Viekson Van Wie adds... "it gives them the opportunity to see how important the ocean really is, just to all life in general and how important it is to us specifically here in Florida."
Stars to Starfish took more than a year to produce and features underwater photography by Riverview's art teacher, Jan Davis and narration by proud Riverview graduate, ABC 7's Scott Dennis.
"It's a unique program, no other high school has a program like this, very few high schools even have a planetarium, let alone a state of the art, digital planetarium the way we have, we are excited about our facility, but also excited about being able to produce our own content," says Mocherman.
The official premiere of Stars to Starfish happens Saturday, November 17th at Riverview High. The school is offering free showings every 30 minutes, from 7 until 9 pm. You can also tour the school's aquadome and the Deep Sky Observers will have telescopes set up in the parking lot.