Thursday, December 15, 2016

From Harlem Globetrotters to Discovery Dome

Students at three Spring Branch ISD elementary schools took time out from a busy fall semester Wednesday to cheer on two Harlem Globetrotters, honor a nominated teacher who received a $500 award, and watch the planets spin above inside a gym based, inflatable museum dome.

The pair of Harlem Globetrotters, Corey “Thunder” Law and Herb “Flight Time” Lang, entertained more than 300 Frostwood Elementary students in first through fourth grade, while educating them about the three ABC’s of bullying prevention, which include action, bravery and compassion.

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The Frostwood Elementary appearance by the fun loving, basketball Globetrotters was also scheduled as a follow-up visit with Frostwood student George Gring. He was treated for Burkitt’s Lymphoma as a kindergarten student. He’s in third grade today, and doing great.

A KTRK-TV 13 reporter and cameraman were at the school Wednesday to record the Globetrotters reunion in the gym with George and several family members.

“It’s hard to put into words how different an experience it is to have George right here three years later. He’s come so far,” Globetrotter “Thunder” Law said.

The Globetrotters will appear at NRG Park for two performance game dates later this month. “Having George healthy and able to come out to our game is terrific,” Globetrotter “Flight Time” Lang said.

Third-grader George’s point of view was compellingly direct. “The best thing for me was being with Thunder and Flight Time again,” he said.

The Globetrotter’s anti-bullying message was well received. Frostwood students listened closely, and they cheered and applauded the antics of the two basketball wizards. At one point, they led students and a teacher in a basketball circle trick, which included zany dance and ball-handling moves.

“We want to deliver a message in a way that students remember it well. If we get through to just one kid, I believe that really helps improve the world we live in,” Globetrotter “Thunder” Law said.

At Terrace Elementary, meanwhile, Sarah Pepper with CBS Radio Hot 95.7 FM, along with a female station disk jockey and crew, conducted a gym pep rally that culminated in a surprise $500 cash award to kindergarten teacher Laura Keith for her classroom needs.

Pepper has now issued more than 20 or so such teaching excellence awards, called Pepper Pays It Forward Teacher of the Month. They are supported by Gulf Coast Educators Credit Union. Pepper began the local recognition program to honor her brother, who died six years ago.

Teachers can be nominated by students, parents and community members. In 2015, a Ridgecrest Elementary teacher earned one of the Pepper Awards. To nominate an instructor, please visit HOT Hits - Sarah Pepper Pays It Forward.

At Valley Oaks Elementary, students were amazed by their grade-level experiences and tours of the Discovery Dome, an inflatable dome theater installed in the school gym that took young minds soaring through the planets and solar system.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade had full-dome experiences, presented by a Houston Museum of Natural Science guide and facilitator. The special-event experience included 360-degree video stories about our solar system.

The presentations are supported by TEKS-based objectives and materials. Activity and vocabulary lessons reinforce what students learn by staring above them at live-motion video of planets and stars.

Henry, a museum guide at Valley Oaks, noted that his dome presentations are often mind-expanding moments, even for little ones in kindergarten.

“One of the hardest questions I ever received was from a really young student who asked me, ‘How big is the universe?’ That’s actually a hard question to answer in a simple way,” he said.

In cosmological terms, the age of the universe is represented by time elapsed since the Big Bang, or beginning of the universe, occurred.

Science and astronomy groups have estimated that the age of the universe is about 13.7 billion years, with a margin of error or uncertainty of almost 60 million years.


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