Horizons Unlimited - School Programming

Horizons Unlimited - School Programming

We offer programs that are designed using the North Carolina Essential Standards for science and social studies. Programs incorporate problem-based learning and inquiry teaching strategies that integrate Reading and Math Common Core goals. Kindergarten through Eighth Grade classes are provided with programs designed to be hands-on and minds-on.  Please view offerings for the 2017-2018 school year.

Kindergarten (May 17th – June 6th) Optional

2 ½ hours

Introduction to Horizons Unlimited

Diane Folk: Garden Life

Shannon Ellsworth: Animals Everywhere

Kyle Whisenant and Neil Pifer: Make, Play and Learn


A visit to the planetarium is included for all Kindergarten classes.

Contact Shannon Ellsworth (Shannon.Ellsworth@rss.k12.nc.us ) or Kathryn Ender (Kathryn.Ender@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule your school.

1st Grade (October 2nd – November 20th)

2 ½ hours

Neil Pifer: In My Backyard (Planetarium – Horizons Grounds)

Shannon Ellsworth: Setzer Mercantile (Setzer School)


Standards highlighted during this program


1.E.1 Recognize the features and patterns of the earth/moon/sun system as observed from Earth.

1.E.1.1 Recognize differences in the features of the day and night sky and apparent movement of objects across the sky as observed from Earth.             

1.E.1.2 Recognize patterns of observable changes in the Moon’s appearance from day to day.

Social Studies

1.E.1.1: Summarize the various ways in which people earn and use money for goods and services.

I.E.1.2: Identify examples of goods and services in the home, school and community

1.E.1.3: Explain how supply and demand affects the choices families and communities make.

1.H.1.1: Explain how and why neighborhoods and communities change over time.


2nd Grade (October 2nd –November 20th)

2 ½ hours

Diane Folk: Life Cycles (Positive and negative effects of humans)

Kyle Whisenant: Good Citizens Academy


Standards highlighted


2.L.1.2 Compare life cycles of different animals such as, but not limited to, mealworms, ladybugs, crickets, guppies or frogs.

Social Studies

2.C&G.2.1 Exemplify characteristics of good citizenship through historical figures and everyday citizens.

2.C&G.2.2 Explain why it is important for citizens to participate in their community.

3rd Grade (February 1st – March 14th)

2 ½ hours

Neil Pifer: Earth, Moon and Sun Planetarium Show and Makerspace Landforms

Diane Folk: Plants and Pollinators


Standards highlighted


3.E.1.1 Recognize that the earth is part of a system called the solar system that includes the sun (a star), planets, and many moons and the earth is the third planet from the sun in our solar system.

3.E.2.2 Compare Earth’s land features (including volcanoes, mountains, valleys, canyons, caverns, and islands) by using models, pictures, diagrams, and maps.

3.L.2.1 Remember the function of the following structures as it relates to the survival of plants in their environments:

• Roots – absorb nutrients

• Stems – provide support

• Leaves – synthesize food

• Flowers – attract pollinators and produce seeds for reproduction

3.L.2.2Explain how environmental conditions determine how well plants survive and grow.

4th Grade (March 16th – May 8th)

3 ½  hours – Bag lunch required 

Kyle: The “Making” of North Carolina

Shannon: Bows, Arrows and Angles

Diane Folk: Rocks, Minerals and Matter


Standards highlighted

Social Studies

4.C&G.1.1 Summarize the key principles and revisions of the North Carolina Constitution.

4.C&G.1.3 the influence of the colonial history of North Carolina on the governing documents of our state.                                                                       

4.C&G.2.1 Analyze the preamble and articles of the North Carolina Constitution in terms of rights and responsibilities.


CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.5: Recognize angles as geometric shapes that are formed wherever two rays share a common endpoint, and understand concepts of angle measurement:

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.5.A: An angle is measured with reference to a circle with its center at the common endpoint of the rays, by considering the fraction of the circular arc between the points where the two rays intersect the circle. An angle that turns through 1/360 of a circle is called a "one-degree angle," and can be used to measure angles.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.C.6: Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Sketch angles of specified measure.


4.P.2.1 Compare the physical properties of samples of matter (strength, hardness, flexibility, ability to conduct heat, ability to conduct electricity, ability to be attracted by magnets, reactions to water and fire).

4.P.2.2 Explain how minerals are identified using tests for the physical properties of hardness, color, luster, cleavage and streak. 


5th Grade – Onsite STEM Bus visit upon request. Contact Kyle Whisenant (Kyle.Whisenant@rss.k12.nc.us ) or Neil Pifer (Neil.Pifer@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule the STEM Bus for your school.

Choose from the following lessons

  • Establishing outdoor education on school grounds to support Science standard 5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).
  • Physical science Breakout Lab based on standard 5.P.2 Understand the interactions of matter and energy and the changes that occur.
  • Understanding genetics based on standard 5.L.3 Understand why organisms differ from or are similar to their parents based on the characteristics of the organism. Students will participate in a lab on the bus that provides a variety of plants and animals.

Optional (School pays transportation)

Self-guided* Deciduous Forest and Woodland Swamp Tour to support standard 5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.

Contact Kathryn Ender (Kathyrn.Ender@rss.k12.nc.us ) to schedule your visit.

6th Grade (January 3rd – January 30th)

5 hours – Bag lunch required

Exploring China’s Culture and Creativity


Neil Pifer: Chinese Constellations in the Planetarium

Shannon Ellsworth: Gallery Walk with Art Make

Kyle Whisenant: Chinese Commerce, Conquest and Culture

Diane Folk: Structure and State Changes of Matter


Standards highlighted


6.E.1 Understand the earth/moon/sun system, and the properties, structures and predictable motions of celestial bodies in the Universe.

6.E.1.1 Explain how the relative motion and relative position of the sun, Earth and moon affect the seasons, tides, phases of the moon, and eclipses.             

6.E.1.2 Explain why Earth sustains life while other planets are not based on their properties (including types of surface, atmosphere and gravitational force) and location to the Sun

6.P.2.1 Recognize that all matter is made up of atoms and atoms of the same element are all alike, but are different from the atoms of other elements.
6.P.2.2 Explain the effect of heat on the motion of atoms through a description of what happens to particles during a change in phase.

6.P.2.3 Compare the physical properties of pure substances that are independent of the amount of matter present including density, melting point, boiling point, and solubility to properties that are dependent on the amount of matter present to include volume, mass and weight.                           


6.CX.1.1: Understand the visual arts in relationship to the geography, history, and culture of world civilizations and societies from the beginning of human society to the emergence of the First Global Age (1450)

6.CX.1.2: Analyze art from various historical periods in terms of style, subject matter, and movements.

Social Studies

6.G.1.1 Explain how the physical features and human characteristics of a place influenced the development of civilizations, societies and regions (e.g., location near rivers and natural barriers, trading practices and spread of culture).

6.G.1.2 Explain the factors that influenced the movement of people, goods, and ideas and the effects of that movement on societies and regions over time (e.g., scarcity of resources, conquests, desire for wealth, disease and trade). 

7th Grade (November 27th - December 13th)

5 hours – Bag lunch required

Our Impact on the World


Kyle Whisenant: Virtual Vietnam

Shannon Ellsworth: Walk in Their Shoes

Diane Folk: Inheritance

Neil Pifer: Breath of Life


Standards highlighted

Social Studies

7.H.2.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of cooperative efforts and consensus building among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. Humanitarian efforts, United Nations, World Health Organization, Non-Governmental Organizations, European Union and Organization of American States).

7.H.2.1 Analyze the effects of social, economic, military and political conflict among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. war, genocide, imperialism and colonization)

7.H.2.1 Analyze the effects of social, economic, military and political conflict among nations, regions, and groups (e.g. war, genocide, imperialism and colonization)


7.L.2.3 Explain the impact of the environment and lifestyle choices on biological inheritance (to include common genetic diseases) and survival.

7.L.1 Understand the processes, structures and functions of living organisms that enable them to survive, reproduce and carry out the basic functions of life.


8th Grade  (September 6th – 28th)

Program held on-site at Old Stone House (770 Old Stone House Rd, Salisbury, NC)

Organized by Horizons Unlimited and Rowan Museum staff

(5 Hours with bag lunch required)


Standards highlighted during “History Meets STEM” rotation stations


Social Studies

8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of historical documents in order to establish context.

8.H.1.3 Use primary and secondary sources to interpret various historical perspectives.

8.H.2.1 Explain the impact of economic, political, social, and military conflicts (e.g. war, slavery, states’ rights, and citizenship and immigration policies) on the development of North Carolina and the United States. 

8.H.3.1 Explain how migration and immigration contributed to the development of North Carolina and the United States from colonization to contemporary times (e.g. westward movement, African slavery, Trail of Tears, the Great Migration and Ellis and Angel Island).

8.H.3.4 Compare historical and contemporary issues to understand continuity and change in the development of North Carolina and the United States. 

Standards highlighted


8.E.1.3 Predict the safety and potability of water supplies in North Carolina based on physical and biological factors, including:

  • Temperature 

  • Dissolved oxygen 

  • pH 

  • Nitrates and phosphates 

  • Turbidity 

  • Bio-indicators 

8.E.1.4 Conclude that the good health of humans requires:

  • Monitoring of the hydrosphere 

  • Water quality standards 

  • Methods of water treatment 

  • Maintaining safe water quality 

  • Stewardship 

Admission Fees:

School groups located in Rowan or Davie County - No Charge

Other school visitors - Contact Horizons for pricing (No charge for chaperones)

All Horizons Unlimited exhibit areas in the building are accessible to the handicapped and disabled. Visitors with limited mobility will experience some difficulty in accessing Setzer School and the Nature Trail.

Ample bus parking is available on site at the back of the building. Use Lilly Avenue off of West Innes Street to access this area. Picnic facilities are available for warm weather use. (Map of the Area)




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