On Tuesday, 5/21/19 Millhopper Montessori School concluded their astronomy unit in upper elementary science class with a guest lecture by Dr. Naibi Mariñas, Lecturer and Associate Scientist for the University of Florida’s Department of Astronomy.

The fourth and fifth grade science classes studied and completed labs on Earth and space including lessons on how the Earth moves, how star patterns change, the phases of the moon, orbital paths, stars, the outer and inner planets, asteroids, meteors, and comets. They concluded their astronomy unit with a guest lecture arranged through UF Astro Research, the University of Florida Astronomy Department’s public outreach program. The program is committed to astronomy education in area schools and community. Many of their faculty and graduate students regularly visit schools, host events, and work with local educators to make sure the excitement of astronomy is conveyed to school-age students as well as the general public. They often visit classrooms with their portable Starlab planetarium and other activities.

Millhopper Montessori School offers a rich STEAM-enhanced curriculum to its students. They were excited to welcome the expertise and experience of Dr. Mariñas whose areas of specialty include star formation, circumstellar disks, mid-infrared instrumentation, near-infrared and mid-infrared imaging and spectroscopy. Her main area of research is star and planetary system formation. She has used mid-infrared and nearinfrared imaging and spectroscopy to study young stars and the dusty disks that surround them.