Several language instructors from the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures have been teaming up with the Abrams Planetarium to offer planetarium shows to their students in German and in Russian.
The Center for Language Teaching Advancement facilitated connections between the planetarium and the language instructors. More information can be found here: https://celta.msu.edu/projects/planetarium-languages-partnership/ The shows provided a fun way for students to practice listening to their target language and learn a little about astronomy at the same time.
German 445 visited the Abrams Planetarium within the first week of the semester, and this was a fantastic opportunity to both introduce and delve into some of the key ideas of the course in a new way. This course explores different types of images and the central role of visual representations in German culture from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, and it also asks students to think about the role of imagination and the way language can conjure vivid images. In the simultaneous act of watching and listening to the planetarium show “From Earth to the Universe”, students experienced the powerful interaction of text and image that we reflected on throughout the rest of the semester when discussing poetry, short stories, a novella and its film adaptation, and a graphic memoir. Moreover, doing this in the target language of German gave everyone a sense of accomplishment.
The Russian program and Russian club also watched “From Earth to the Universe” from the European Southern Observatory at a time that coincided with the Russian club’s usual weekly meeting. Students learned vocabulary from the show in advance and could read the transcript and translation to help them understand the film better. After the film, Director of the Abrams Planetarium Shannon Schmoll, who speaks Russian, showed them some constellations and taught them the Russian names of the constellations.
We look forward to continuing collaborations with the planetarium in the future!