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Targeting ELA Learning Gaps with Astronomy

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Targeting ELA Learning Gaps with Astronomy

Presented by Karrie Berglund, Director of Education, Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc.; Diana Yoder, Education Specialist, Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc.; and Dave Cuomo, Education Specialist, Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc.

Sponsored by Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc.

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Pandemic learning disruptions had a significant impact on our students, especially in the areas of mathematics and English language arts (ELA). ELA is broadly defined as speaking, listening, reading, and writing, all of which are foundational skills for a successful academic career.

Estimates are that elementary students lost about one-quarter of a year in ELA skills due to pandemic restrictions, and the effects on low-income students were even greater. How can schools help students regain this ground? The first step is to fully engage students in their learning by offering exciting and impactful learning opportunities.

In this edWebinar, we explore how the innately inspiring and engaging subject of astronomy can be used to target ELA. We share ideas for addressing ELA skills, such as:

  • Reading stories under the stars to young students, then discussing those stories to gauge comprehension
  • Sharing constellation legends from around the world
  • Having students write and present their own star stories
  • Using astronomical images to inspire student-created poetry

Although the presenters focus on presenting in a planetarium dome, many of the activities shared can be done successfully in a standard classroom. This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers and school and district leaders.

Karrie BerglundAbout the Presenters

Karrie Berglund is the Director of Education at and co-founder of Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc., a company that has manufactured and sold digital planetarium systems worldwide since 2003. Prior to Digitalis, Karrie worked at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, teaching in the on-site planetarium, as well as at schools all over Washington state. Karrie enjoys teaching and learning science of all kinds, but she is especially fond of astronomy. She considers planetariums to be the world’s best classrooms and dreams of a day when all students have access to such an inspiring, mind-opening tool.

Diana Yoder

Diana Yoder is an Education Specialist with Digitalis Education Solutions. She studied physics and astronomy at Mississippi State University and Clemson University, earning her master’s in 2016. Since then, she has enjoyed an exciting career in planetariums. Starting out at the South Carolina State Museum, and later moving on to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, she has led all sorts of public and school programs for a variety of subjects in and out of the dome. Her favorite part of working at the museums was that every day was something new and the teams were constantly looking for creative solutions to educate their audience best. In 2022, she joined the Digitalis team. When she isn’t spreading the word about how useful planetariums can be, she enjoys working on new, standards-based lessons to share with the community.

Dave Cuomo

Dave Cuomo joined Digitalis Education Solutions as an Education Specialist in April 2019. Before joining Digitalis, he worked as the Supervisor of Pacific Science Center’s Willard Smith Planetarium in Seattle, Washington and as Coordinator of Space Odyssey at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado. Dave started working as an informal science educator in 2003. Since that time, he has dissected hundreds of sheep hearts, conducted vacuum chamber experiments on numerous marshmallow astronauts, and inspired curiosity in thousands of people of all ages.

Dave is passionate about live planetarium programming. At the Willard Smith Planetarium, he created a schedule that consisted of six live presentations every day. He researched and wrote live presentations about Chinese astronomy, the physics of light, planetary science, climate change, and Earth science. Dave holds a BA in world history from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, with a minor in theatre.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Accelerate Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Digitalis EducationDigitalis staff are science education experts and technologists. We develop our own simulation and interface software, and all of our sales staff have taught in planetariums. We understand science educator needs, and we use our own products to present programs to ensure they will meet your requirements.



Tuesday, March 14, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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