A poster created by the students of K.I. Sawyer Elementary School in Gwinn, Michigan, to welcome Dr. Harri Vanhala, one of five Visiting Researchers to the Marquette region of Michigan’s northern peninsula in March 2003. As part of Journey through the Universe Week, entire communities across 12 public school districts and one Catholic school district—in a remote region of the nation—were getting ready for their guest researchers from around the country. Kids in 28 schools had dressed up their classrooms with space science posters and projects, and teachers were conducting Journey lessons in the Earth and space sciences. Parents and children were getting ready to attend programs for family learning.
On March 19, with five presentations throughout the day, Dr. Harri spoke to 279 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at Sawyer Elementary School. He talked to them about the powerful computer software he creates to try and understand how our Solar System was born nearly five billion years ago, and what got him excited about becoming a space scientist when he was in 4th grade. He spent the day at the school and had lunch with the kids. Then he did the same thing for four more days during the week with four other schools. It’s what the other four Visiting Researchers did as well, reaching a total of 3,700 students over the course of 84 presentations, and taking these communities on a Journey through the Universe.