Carolina’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is extending its mission outside its Chapel Hill facility this summer by bringing free interactive STEM learning to children across North Carolina.
GSK Science in the Summer — a partnership between Morehead and GlaxoSmithKline — offers science programs to elementary and middle school-aged students in 11 counties across the state. The program aims to spark a lifelong passion for science and inspire the next generation of scientists.
“Morehead understands that there are barriers surrounding coming to Chapel Hill physically,” said Glenda Hairston, the youth and family programs manager at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. “To remove those barriers, we need to take our content and our programming beyond Chapel Hill.”
Hairston and her team pride themselves on not adhering to a “one-size-fits-all model” program by filling the unique needs of students throughout the state and ensuring that the GSK Science in the Summer community is afforded valuable, engaging and accessible experiences all summer.
“We aim to make sure that children who historically have not been represented in science and STEM fields have the access and opportunity to do so through this program,” Hairston said.
The theme changes yearly. This year’s theme “Be a Biologist: Discover the World Around You” encourages students to learn about life on Earth through crafts, interactive activities, and group discussions.
“Since it’s such a broad topic, we approach it from lots of angles,” said Annie Sider, lead coordinator for the GSK Science in the Summer. “Each day kind of has a different focus.”