From their classroom, students interacted with a CIM instructor through the distance learning program “The Planets? Suite!” that combines the scientific study of the solar system with the orchestral music of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” Holst, a British composer, wrote the music between 1914 and 1917. Each planet has a different type of music based on the origin of the planet’s name. Jupiter, for example, was named for the god of war, so the piece is very military and ominous.
In the program, the instructor plays the music, discusses the origin and shows photographs of the planet. As they move through the planets, students create a scale model of the solar system on fabric stretching across the front of the classroom.
Fifth-grade science teacher LaVonne Szafranski said the program was paid through a grant. Science teacher Tom Seighman also participates in the program.
“I love it because it integrates so many subjects – science, music, art, writing,” she said.
During the program students are asked to listen to the music, sketch the planets, participate in a writing prompt, play a game about the order of the planets and complete a math activity in positioning the planets in the solar system.