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 Program Descriptions for available programs for the 2016-2017 school year.

Kindergarten* Program – STEM Bus Visit (45 minutes)

(Choose One – To schedule a visit contact Shannon Ellsworth shannon.ellsworth@rss.k12.nc.us  and/or Kyle Whisenant kyle.whisenant@rss.k12.nc.us . Schools will be scheduled based on availability in the Horizons Unlimited/STEM Bus  calendar.)

*Pre-K classes interested in on-site programing may contact Shannon Ellsworth to schedule a site visit.

(Schools will be scheduled based on availability in the Horizons Unlimited calendar.)

Professor Property

Students will work in pairs in an investigation adventure to locate and identify various objects.  Partners will observe physical properties to locate and identify clues about solving the mystery of the missing pieces for Professor Property.  Students must use the skills of sorting, weighing, measuring, and bending to determine each clue and solve the mystery before it’s too late.

Program Length: 45 Minutes        

Location: STEM Bus


K.P.2: Understand how objects are described based on their physical properties and how they are used.

K.P.2.1: Classify objects by observable physical properties (including size, color, shape, texture, weight, and flexibility).

K.P.2.2: Compare the observable physical properties of different kinds of materials (clay, wood, cloth, paper, etc) from which objects are made and how they are used.

Mini Meteorologists

Sometimes it seems there is nothing predictable about the weather.  However, by observing weather patterns, students will learn how to compare weather from day to day and throughout the season.  This literacy-based lesson will utilize collaborative groups to create unique weather tools to aide these mini meteorologists in making sense of weather in our world.

Program Length: 45 Minutes        

Location: STEM Bus


K.E.1: Understand change and observable patterns of weather that occur from day to day and throughout the year.

K.E.1.1: Infer that change is something that happens to many things in the environment based on observations made using one or more of their senses.

K.E.1.2: Summarize daily weather conditions noting changes that occur from day to day and throughout the year.

K.E.1.3: Compare weather patterns that occur from season to season.

Who Dunnit?

The keys to the STEM bus are missing and the bus is parked in the carpool line! If we don’t move the bus in time, we will all be stuck at school.  Students will use their investigation skills to explore ways objects and organisms move to determine who is responsible for this crime and to find those missing keys.

Program Length: 45 Minutes        

Location: STEM Bus


K.P.1: Understand the positions and motions of objects and organisms observed in the environment.

K.P.1.1: Compare the relative position of various objects observed in the classroom and outside using position words such as: in front of, behind, between, on top of, under, above, below, and beside.

K.P.1.2: Give examples of different ways objects and organisms move (to include falling to the ground when dropped):

  • Straight
  • Zigzag
  • Round and round
  • Back and forth
  • Fast and Slow

First Grade Program  - 4th Quarter (2 ½ hours total)

(Students will participate in each class described below while visiting Horizons Unlimited.)


In My Backyard

Join children’s entertainer Fred Penner from TV’s Nickelodeon as he explores things large and small, from the colors of the rainbow, to the reasons for the seasons.

Through the use of entertaining songs and immersive environments, children are encouraged to participate while learning about the planets, constellations, meteors, the moon and more.

As a part of this experience, students will visit the Horizons Makerspace to explore energy transfer.

Program Length: 60 minutes                    

Location: Margaret C. Woodson Planetarium          


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

1.L.2 Summarize the needs of living organisms for energy and growth.

Setzer School: A Mercantile Experience

Students will visit the Setzer School to recreate an 1840’s mercantile store experience.  They will use the life skills of bartering, trading, and selling to interact with one another.  Students will work on mathematics skills and learn the value of problem-solving skills in a historical society. 

*Other activities may include: candle making, early American games, candy making, and cooking to create goods for the mercantile experience.

Program Length: 60 minutes

Location: Setzer School/History Room

Social Studies

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

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

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

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


1.OA.1: Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve world problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart and comparing with unknowns in all positions e.g. by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.



First Grade On-Site Delivery  - To schedule a school visit contact Anne Ellis Rachel.Ellis@rss.k12.nc.us

(Schools will be scheduled based on availability in the Horizons Unlimited calendar.)

May the Force Be With You with professional development offering

This 1st grade program will be delivered to your students at your school.  We will focus on the big ideas of forces, motion, gravity and balanced forces.  Students will investigate the factors that cause objects to change their motion by inquiry-based activities.  Magnets will be used to demonstrate unseen forces and will lead to student-led involvement.  There will be many mini-stations set up to reinforce these concepts. 

Program Length:  1 hour

Location:  At your school

Science Standards

1.P.1.1: Explain the importance of a push or pull to changing the motion of an object.

1.P.1.2: Explain how some forces (pushes and pulls) can be used to make things move without touching them, such as magnets.

1.P.1.3: Predict the effect of a given force on the motion of an object, including balanced forces.


Second Grade Program  - 2nd Quarter (2 ½ hours total)

(Students will participate in each class described below while visiting Horizons Unlimited.)

Charting Your Own Course

An unnamed object has been moved to an unknown location and students will need to design a map to find its location! Students will learn how to place objects on a map based on directional clues, and then use that map they design to successfully find the unnamed object.

Program Length: 60 minutes

Location: Horizons Unlimited/Classroom/History Room/Classroom C

Social Studies

2.G.1 Use geographical representations, terms and technology to process information from a spatial perspective.

2.G.2 Understand the effects of humans interacting with their environment.

Standards for Mathmatical Practice

1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

4. Model with mathematics.


The Chemistry of Weather

This integrated program will immerse students into the science of weather.  They will learn about weather and climate and the corresponding weather instruments as well as the chemistry of weather.  Students will perform experiments that demonstrate why clouds are in the sky as well as explore solids, liquids, and gases in the context of air pressure and temperature.  Wild and calm, high and low, hot and cold, fast and slow are just some of the things your students will learn about weather and how it is formed.

Program Length: 60 minutes

Location: Horizons Unlimited/Classroom B


2.P.2.1 Give examples of matter that change from a solid to a liquid and from a liquid to a solid by heating and cooling.

2.P.2.2 Compare the amount (volume and weight) of water in a container before and after freezing.


2.01:  Estimate and measure using appropriate units.

2.04:  Collect, organize, describe and display data.


3rd Grade Program - 2nd Quarter ( 2 ½ hours total)

(Students will participate in each class described below while visiting Horizons Unlimited.)

Fury 325 Roller Coaster Rave

Students will explore force and motion through hands-on investigations relating to roller coasters.  Students will decide what techniques can be used to make the longest roller coaster and the ones with the most loops.  They will also investigate the impact of weight on the speed and distance an object can travel. Finally students will explore if all materials travel down a track at the same speed.

Program Length: 60 Minutes        

Location: Horizons Unlimited/The Refinery - Makerspace


3.P.1: Understand motion and the factors that affect motion.

3.P.1.1: Infer changes in speed or direction resulting from forces acting on another object

3.P.1.2: Compare the relative speeds (faster or slower) of an object that travels the same distance in different amounts of time


Earth, Moon, and Sun System

This planetarium show explores the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions who has many misconceptions about our home planet and its most familiar neighbors.

His confusion about the universe makes viewers think about how the Earth, Moon and Sun work together as a system. Native American stories are used throughout the show to help distinguish between myths and science.

Program Length: 60 minutes        

Location: Margaret C. Woodson Planetarium                      


3.E.1 Recognize the major components and patterns observed in the earth/moon/sun system.



Fourth Grade Program  - 3rd Quarter (3 ½ hours total)

(Students will participate in each class described below while visiting Horizons Unlimited.)


North Carolina Technology and Innovation Fair

The NC Technology and Innovation Fair will spotlight our state, its rich history and its technological innovations.  Students will study the history of Native (First) Americans in North Carolina and focus on designing an improvement to a technology used by them.  North Carolina is known for its Outer Banks and the varied lighthouses located on our coasts.  Electricity will be discovered so that new lighthouses can be built and wired in parallel circuits.  All student innovators are invited to attend and participate!


Guiding Lights

We need YOUR help!  The North Carolina coast has gone dark.  All of our lighthouses have lost their light.  It is up to you to safely guide ships to our coasts.  You must design and build a lighthouse and wire it correctly in parallel circuits, but you must work quickly because time is running out!

Length:  60 minutes

Location:  Horizons Unlimited/Classroom B



4.P.3.1:Recognize the basic forms of energy (light, sound, heat, electrical, and magnetic) as the ability to cause motion or create change.

4.P.3.2:Recognize that light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object or travels from one medium to another, and that light can be reflected, refracted, and absorbed.


Significant or Not? You Be the Judge

Imagine that Rowan-Salisbury wants the Historic Salisbury Foundation to create a new historical statue to celebrate an event important that helped shape the development of the community. Students will work in research  teams to determine historical events that would be noteworthy. The teams will develop a persuasive presentation to share with the whole group explaining why the event should be celebrated.

Length:  60 minutes

Location:  Horizons Unlimited/The Refinery - Makerspace


Social Studies

4.H.1.3: Explain how people, events and developments brought about changes to communities in various regions of N.C.

4.H.2.1: Explain why important buildings, statues, monuments, and place names are associated with the state's history.


Many Moons Ago

Students will embrace North Carolina’s Native American culture through the exploration of traditional languages, foods, and customs.  These will include various games, oral traditions, technological advances, and other customs unique to North Carolina’s Native Americans.

Length:  60 minutes

Location:  Horizons Unlimited/History Room/Classroom C


Social Studies

4.H.1.1: Summarize the change in cultures, everyday life and status of indigenous American Indian groups in North Carolina before and after European exploration

4.G.1.3: Exemplify the interactions of various people, places, and cultures in terms of adaptation and modification of the environment

4.G.1.4: Explain the impact of technology (communication, transportation, and inventions) on North Carolina’s citizens past and present

4.C.1.1: Explain how the settlement of people from various cultures affected the development of regions in North Carolina (languages, foods and traditions)

4.C.1.2: Explain how the artistic expression of various groups represents the cultural heritage of North Carolina

Fifth Grade Program  - 4th Quarter (5 hours total)

(Students will participate in each class described below for a whole day experience at Horizons Unlimited. Bag lunches will be required and appropriate outdoor clothing should be worn.)

Forecasting: How Meteorologists Predict Weather

Students take on the role of a meteorologist. Students will initially take readings around Horizons Unlimited to better understand what each factor is (temperature, wind speed, humidity, etc.) and then use that information to make an informal prediction about weather the next day at Horizons Unlimited.


Students will be tasked with researching the weather for another state with the guidance of the My Radar application. Using visual-spatial skills, students will sketch maps of what is currently happening in that state, then examine data sheets that list clues related to weather factors occurring in that state. Each group has to determine what weather event (tornado, thunderstorm, etc.) is occurring from the clues presented. Students will present their findings to the group like a meteorologist does on a daily basis.

Program Length: 2.5 hours with a lunch break

Location: Horizons Unlimited Outdoor Areas/The Refinery - Makerspace



5.E.1 Understand weather patterns and phenomena, making connections to the weather in a particular place and time.


Investigating the Wild

In this outdoor program, students will focus on one ecosystem and the biotic and abiotic factors that help us determine the health and quality of it.  Throughout the experience, data will be collected and analyzed by student scientists.

Students will work as a team of explorers to determine what biome they are visiting.  All members must work together to fully analyze each biotic and abiotic factor.  This is very important because some ecosystems are designated as “protected”.  Should the biome be saved?  Why?  These and other questions will be posed for inquiring minds.

Role 1:  Ecologist- Describe the living and non-living factors of the ecosystem.

Role 2:  Botanist- Identify and become familiar with the native plants of the ecosystem.

Role 3- Zoologist- Become familiar with the native animals, their adaptations and dependence on each other and their environment for survival.

Role for All:  Environmentalists- All team members work together:

                        To determine the ecosystem;

                        To explain the importance of preserving this ecosystem from global perspective;

                        To identify environmental threats or causes of environmental damage;

                        To describe solutions that are developed to correct this problem.

Length:  2.5 hours with a lunch break

Location: Tom E. Smith Nature Exploratorium at Horizons Unlimited



5.L.2.1 Compare the characteristics of several common ecosystems, including estuaries and salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands.

5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).

5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem.



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)




Enabling this option will replace all fonts with the Open Dyslexic font.
Enabling this option will show a high-contrast version of this site's theme.