June 21 marks the longest day of the year and elementary education students at Black Hills State University-Rapid City study this phenomenon each year.
Dr. Janet Briggs, instructor of science education at BHSU-RC, says June 21 is longer than other days because of the way the Earth is tilted in June.
Briggs teaches “Earth and Physical Science for Elementary Teachers” and “K-8 Science Methods” at BHSU-RC. In addition to the Summer Solstice, there are other astronomical wonders you can only see in the summer sky like the Milky Way, because of the Earth’s position as it travels around the sun and the direction the night sky is facing during the summer.
“On June 21, the northern hemisphere of the earth is tilted more toward the sun than it will ever be throughout the year. The sun is more intense on the earth’s surface during this time and the days are longer,” says Briggs.
This week Briggs is hosting a group of South Dakota teachers in Spearfish for a workshop focusing on life sciences. Instructing education students at BHSU for nearly 20 years, Briggs says students she’s taught in her undergraduate classes sometimes show up in her professional development workshops years later.
“It’s fun to watch them grow as educators,” says Briggs.
In her classes at BHSU-RC, Briggs says many of her students have full time jobs and are pursuing an education degree in the evenings. Meteorology is a favorite topic for students in her “Earth and Physical Science for Elementary Teachers” course.
“There are unique challenges in understanding the diversity of South Dakota weather. We also cover the geology of the Black Hills in that course,” says Briggs.
Kristina Giesey, elementary education major from Rapid City, recalls a lesson about rain in Briggs’ course at BHSU-RC.
“We were studying the different variations of rain water, if it’s a harder rain or a slower rain and how much moisture will actually soak into the ground,” said Giesey. “Dr. Briggs brought in dirt and pans as a hands-on activity. It will be a great model to share with our students in our own classrooms.”
Briggs says the education students at BHSU-RC are very focused and proactive.
“The students come in to my classroom ready to learn. They know they’re going to use this information as educators themselves,” says Briggs.
About BHSU-Rapid City
BHSU has the largest teacher preparation program in the state. The elementary education degree can be completed onsite at BHSU-Rapid City. BHSU graduates have a 100 percent pass rate on licensure exams. A high percentage of graduates from the BHSU education program are hired immediately in classrooms from kindergarten through grade eight.
BHSU also offers a master’s degree in business administration and applied management (MBA) and several bachelor’s degrees that can be completed at BHSU-Rapid City. The bachelor’s degrees include: business administration, corporate communications, elementary education, general studies, history, history education, human services, political science, psychology, social science teaching, and sociology. In addition, BHSU-RC offers several associate degrees and certificates that can be completed without leaving Rapid City.
BHSU-RC is located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd. on the east side of Rapid City with easy access from I-90. The University is committed to serving veterans, has a large network of alumni living in the region, and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide. In spring 2018, BHSU-RC debuted a new block schedule providing students a flexible way to take classes.
Learn more at www.BHSU.edu/RC