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      "Star Lab" shows teacher's passion for stellar education

      A teacher at Madison Elementary in Quincy has found a unique way of explaining our solar system.

      Madison Elementary teacher Kevin Genenbacher believes his students learn and understand subjects more clearly by physically interacting with the material.

      That's why he decided to rent a blow-up planetarium when it came time to teach them astronomy.

      "Our "Star Lab" ball, from the Regional Office of Education and it's a constellation program to teach kids about constellations, stars, and Greek Mythology and the sky," Genenbacher said.

      Genenbacher says the "Star Lab" is a more effective educational tool as opposed to reading a textbook.

      "It brings it more hands on than just a book or a paper that you're doing. They actually sit and see," he said.

      By combining visual and audio demonstrations, Genenbacher makes lessons more memorable and engaging for his students.

      "Mr. Genenbacher will tell a story that will reaffirm what the audio says and kids try to figure out which character represents which system in the sky," Madison Elementary School Principal Jim Sohn said.

      Sohn says these unique styles of teaching methods often help students comprehend more complicated material.

      "He'll read a story and the children try to figure out which set of stars that particular character symbolizes. Kind of the meaning of how the stars took shape or how when you look into the stars, what the meaning is and how you kind of connect them together," Sohn said.

      Genenbacher hopes the "Star Lab" will help Madison Elementary students have a deeper understanding of the complicated material.

      For more information on renting a "Star Lab," contact the Quincy Regional Office of Education at 217-277-2080.