SparkPoint Innovations opened a Georgia office in October of 2012. After receiving multiple requests from schools in North and South Carolina, it was decided that the next chapter in the SparkPoint Innovations story would be expansion. The Carolinas office opened in the fall of 2015 with the debut of Orbit Earth Expo. The Big Canyon Balloon was added to the roster in the fall of 2016.

Teachers in North Carolina love our programs because they are aligned to the NC Essential Standards for Science at grades K-8. Our programs can be used as an introduction, review, or for preparation for the 5th grade Science EOG.

With our huge, patented cold air canyon, we fast forward into the future to see how nature’s forces change our 15 ft tall canyon model. Students debate fast versus slow changes to the earth while they experience weathering, erosion and deposition. They participate to create landforms including a barrier island, a sand dune, and a delta. Forces causing erosion are explored as we pause to compare rocks and minerals – what is the difference? What are types of rocks we know and how are those formed? Inside the canyon, students will discover a fossil record and an oil deposit. What are the fossils telling the explorers about the relative age of these layers? How did the oil form? Is it a renewable or non-renewable natural resource? The answers to these questions and much more will be discovered during out unforgettable, interactive earth science programs for each grade level.

Learn more about the Big Canyon Balloon in North Carolina


Students journey into space to create and experience the cycles, systems and relationships between the earth, moon and sun using our huge, inflatable Earth model and scale-sized moon. While interacting with the inflatable representations in a darkened gymnasium with a light to represent the sun, students manipulate the models to experience eclipses, seasonal/lunar cycles, creation of winds, day/night cycles, tides, rotation vs revolution, physical characteristics of the earth, moon and sun, gravity, order of the planets, seasons and more! The Orbit Earth Expo Program correlates to the state and grade level science objectives. There are different age-appropriate programs for each grade level.

Learn more about Orbit Earth Expo in North Carolina

Kourtney Clopton

NC & SC Lead Teacher: Orbit Earth Expo

Kourtney Clopton is originally from Germany, but lived in Texas most of her life. She is a proud Ohio State University and Texas State University alumni with 14 years of experience in education. When she is not teaching tomorrow’s leaders, she is spending time with her partner and their amazing son, traveling with friends, and enjoying live music at concerts.

Tracy Custer

Marketing Director

Tracy is a lifelong resident of North Carolina, though she loves to travel. She was a NC Teaching Fellow at Elon College and earned her M-LIS degree from UNC-Greensboro. She has been a classroom teacher, school librarian, and technology guru over the course of her twenty plus years in public education. She was the Orbit Earth Expo lead teacher for the Carolinas from 2015-2019 and is passionate about making earth science accessible for K-8 students. She is married and has two children in their early twenties. When she is not working, she loves to read, play the Sims, and spend time with her family, which includes four cats and a bearded dragon.

From a teacher...

“Our teachers were impressed with how much you included and how well your presentation aligned to the standards. Many teachers I talked to said you both were hilarious. They loved your energy! The kids had a great time and have a better understanding of weathering and erosion. Fantastic!”

– Ashley McMath, 5th grade teacher, Blue Ridge Elementary



From a teacher...

“The Big Canyon Balloon presentation was a wonderful hands-on learning experience for Midway’s 3rd and 5th Graders! They were engaged in learning and reviewing important Earth Science Standards and were given fun ways to remember important vocabulary directly related to the standards! We will definitely use the program again for other Grade Levels at our school! Thanks again for coming to Midway where all students are learning to think scientifically!”

– Libby Romig, K-5 Science Lab, Midway Elementary School

From a student...

“This was the most awesomest thing I have ever seen in my life.”

– 3rd grade student, Midway Elementary, Alpharetta, GA 

From a teacher...

“The Big Canyon Balloon was a fantastic review for the science CRCT in a fun, entertaining, and interactive way that this age MUST have!”

– Melodi Shanks, 6th grade science teacher

From a teacher...

“Thank you so much for these two assemblies!  All the teachers and kids really enjoyed it!  They loved the exposure to the vocabulary it gave our kiddos!”

– Kristin Poncheri, Science Lab, Fair Oaks Elementary, Marietta, GA 

From a teacher...

“Thanks again for a great experience!!! The feedback from almost all the kids was that they loved it as well. I asked every class what was the coolest thing or something that they learned and every class was truly fascinated by the actual size difference of Earth and the sun.”

– Chris Vernon, 6th grade science teacher, Woodland Middle School, Stockbridge, GA

From a student...

“I love your presentations over every other presentation I have ever seen because your enthusiasm keeps everyone excited and engaged!”

– Emily Oldani, 6th grader, Otwell Middle, Cumming, GA

From a Principal...

“First, please know what a great pleasure it was having you ladies here at Union today. Second, I must admit I didn’t know what to expect but I was very pleasantly surprised by how good the interactive experience was! I heard really good, positive feedback from our teachers and obviously, from the looks on their faces, the kids loved it, too! I just passed along one of the flyers to my 4th grade teacher to keep in mind for the solar system experience for next year. I will most definitely pass along how good the experience was to my elementary colleagues when we meet! I wish the two of you the best in your endeavors and I hope you stay in the Atlanta area! You are very good at what you do! We hope to have you back again!”

Teresa Benefield, Principal, Union Elementary School, Temple, GA

From a Teacher...

“Our 6th graders loved Rocky! The presentation had a great variety of activities to keep the students engaged and the presenters made the content very memorable. Never again will our students get confused over the difference between weathering and erosion! Rocky was able to illustrate 6th grade Earth Science standards in a big way that wouldn’t have been possible in the classroom alone.”

Carrie Beth Rykowski, 6th Grade Teacher, Vickery Creek Middle School, Cumming, GA

From a PTA Co-President...

“The Riverwatch Middle School PTSA was thrilled to be able to offer your program to our 6th graders. It was a fun & interactive way for them to review for the CRCT in April. What a great presentation for our middle school. Thank you!”

– Cathy Campbell, PTSA Co-President, Riverwatch Middle School, Suwanee, GA

From a Teacher...

“I loved the presentation – it covered our standards so well!!!  Thanks so much for coming!”

– Debbie Wallace, 3rd Grade Teacher, Sawnee Elementary, Cumming, GA

From a Principal...

“Big Canyon Balloon was a great learning experience for students K-5. The presenters did an excellent job of reinforcing our science standards. A great time was had by all!”

– Paige Andrews, EdS, Principal, Silver City Elementary, Cumming, GA

From a Teacher...

“You guys did a great job. Everything lined up great with what we were doing in the classroom and the kids loved it. You guys were fun to work with. I’ll be sure to pass along our experience!”

– Chris Hawlk, 5th Grade Science Teacher, Big Creek Elementary, Cumming, GA

From a Teacher...

“We loved it!!!  All the teachers have raved about how great this was. They were all amazed by the number of standards that were covered and the kids had a blast!”

– Lisa Runion, EdS, 5th Grade Teacher, Cumming Elementary, Cumming, GA

From a Teacher...

“The Big Canyon Exhibit was spot on for our 5th graders. The exhibit fit very well with our curriculum and STEM activity. The presenters keep the students attention, which is hard for 5th graders, but they were very entertained on their interest level. It was very well put together.”

– Audrey Mays, 5th grade teacher, Dames Ferry Elementary, Gray, GA 

From a teacher...

“Our school loved the Grand Canyon visit last May. The teachers felt it was the best review of those earth science TEKS (standards) that they have ever seen or could imagine seeing. We are interested in having your team visit and do their “magic” [again].”

– DeAnna Jezisek, ETAG/ Science Fair and Science Day Contact, Forest Creek Elementary

From a teacher...

“What a fabulous way to bring change over time into our midst. Exciting and informational!”

– Melanie Nelson, Kindergarten Teacher

From a teacher...

“I had a great time and so did my students!”

– Julie Trokey, 3rd Grade Teacher


From a teacher...

“Thank you for showing my students science in real life! This helped them to better understand what they learn in my classroom”

– Lisa Marré, 4th Grade Teacher

From a teacher...

“WOW! I love the model and how many TEKS you cover! Earth Science came to life today!”

– Janette Wiatrek, 4th Grade Teacher


From a teacher...

“The presentation was absolutely outstanding! Hats off to you! We’ll see you next year!”

– Yolanda Brantford, 5th Grade Teacher

From a teacher...

“This in incredible! Thanks so much for an incredible experience for our students who may never get to experience the Grand Canyon in real-life.”

– Ashlee Smith, 5th Grade Teacher

From a teacher...

“This is a fantastic presentation geared for the age level and connecting the learning with the student’s own experiences.”

– Larry Hollon, 5th Grade Teacher


From a teacher...

“I enjoyed the energy of the presenters and having the students interact with the model.”

– John Magbuhgt, 5th Grade Teacher

From a teacher...

“It was a fun way to teach the students science. I’m sure they will not forget the concepts they were taught today. It was easy and clear for them to understand [the speakers].”

– Ana Rebecca, K-5th Grade Teacher

From a teacher...

“I would recommend this program to any school. It is informative and it held the attention of the students.”

– Ray Trosper, K-5th Grade Special Education Teacher

From a Science Coach...

“Our presenters tailored the activities to meet our needs. Great job!”

– a Science Instructional Coach

From a Teacher...

“I saw the Big Canyon program for the first time approximately 8 years ago. This program reinforced my teaching on so many levels. The presenters are energetic, professional and have students interact with processes that take years to form. We love this program so much we have had them come back year after year! Can’t wait until next year!”

– 5th Grade Teacher, Bear Creek Intermediate

From a District Science Specialist...

“Presentations were excellent! Our students were able to make deep connections on Earth science concepts with the interactive word walls, songs, kinesthetic movements, visuals, mnemonic devices, and much more!”

– Melonie Flores, K-12 Science Specialist, Harlingen CISD

From a District Science Specialist...

“The presenters did an amazing job of engaging the students! We were impressed not only by the visual display itself, but also by the vocabulary cards that displayed academic vocabulary in both English and Spanish. We also loved that the students were active participants throughout the presentation. We’d recommend SparkPoint to anyone wanting to offer a memorable science experience to their students.”

– Holly Maldonado, Science Strategist, Los Fresnos CISD

From a Principal...

“Great Presentation!! Students were actively involved throughout the presentation. Excellent correlation with TEKS.”

– Antonio De La Cerda, Principal, Valley View 5th Grade Campus

From a Teacher...

“Very interactive, given in a kid friendly message, students learn, understand and will use the mnemonics from this presentation. It works!!!”

– Amy Rice, 2nd ELAR Teacher, Bel Air Elementary, Athens, TX

From a Teacher...

“The Big Canyon Balloon Program provided a high energy, interactive experience about weathering and erosion. It kept the students engaged and encouraged them to think. The absolutely loved doing the hand motions to go with the vocabulary and having an opportunity to volunteer! Thanks!”

– Fran Kennedy, 2nd Math & Science Teacher, Bel Air Elementary, Athens, TX

From a Parent...


“Kimberly has a true gift for teaching. She made learning about the earth exciting and educational at the same time. Her ability to adjust the discussion based on grade level ensure the students were engaged and learning the curriculum. I highly recommend her and this program to any school.”

Sara, PTA Representative, Bridlewood Elementary, Flower Mound, TX

From a Teacher...

“I feel that the Orbit Earth Expo was sensational because it was larger than life and the excitement in the students’ eyes was impressive. The interaction of the students around the Earth and the moon was awesome. As they returned to class throughout the day, I continued to hear them talking about the program.”

5th grade teacher, Bridlewood Elementary, Flower Mound, TX

From a PTA Member...

“Thank you so much for an amazing day at Grand Oak Elementary! The students and teachers truly enjoyed [their] presentations and I have heard from many parents about how excited their children were when they got home.”

– Kelly Duffy, PTA Contact, Grand Oak Elementary, Huntersville, NC


From a Teacher...

“Orb brought the Earth & Planet unit to life for my students!”

– 6-8 EC teacher, West Stanly Middle School

From a Teacher...

“If you want to see for yourself the moon in a Geosynchronous-orbit, and view the different features of our Earth from a space perspective then the Orbit Earth Exhibit is for you.”

– Robert Naylor, 5th grade teacher, Winget Park Elementary, Charlotte, NC

From a STEM Coach...

“This was a great program. It definitely helped dispel some misconceptions from ‘smaller’ scale teaching.”

– Megan Mcnutt, STEM Coach, JN Fries Magnet Middle, Concord, NC

From a Teacher...

“Orbit Earth Expo is phenomenal! It is a great way for students to make connections with the solar system which they learned in third grade to the content they will learn in fourth grade. Experience how Earth rotates, tilts , and orbits the sun while seeing the moon orbit the Earth helps their awareness of day and night as well as seasonal changes. Orbit Earth Expo is exciting and engaging for all involved.”

– Karen Sanders, 4th grade teacher, Winget Park Elementary, Charlotte, NC


From a Teacher...

“Allenbrook Elementary in Charlotte, NC was a very lucky participant in the Orbit Earth Expo presented by Ginny and Bailey.  Both presenters were warm and engaging towards out K-5 student population.  All lessons were age appropriate and a perfect extension to what students are learning in the classroom.  Ginny and Bailey truly enjoy what they are doing and it shows in their enthusiasm during their demonstration.  Their comprehensive and hands on approach to science is exactly what our students needed during their instructional day.  We are so appreciative of this opportunity and know that this was a memorable experience for all!  Thank you Expo Earth!”

– Elizabeth Martens-Bill, Teacher, Allenbrook Elementary, Charlotte, NC

From a Teacher...

“This is the first assembly we’ve had all year that really related to our curriculum. While I appreciate cultural arts assemblies, it was refreshing to have my students attend a presentation that directly related to what I was teaching in my classroom.”

Teacher, Holly Ridge Elementary, Holly Springs, NC

From a Curriculum Specialist...

“As a curriculum specialist, I was very impressed with the Big Canyon Balloon presentation. I was able to observe presentations at three different elementary grade levels and each of them did an excellent job with student engagement, vocabulary and making abstract science concepts “stick” with students.”

Candace Lehew, M.Ed, IRT, Holly Ridge Elementary, Holly Springs, NC

From a Teacher...

“This program gives students more insight about Solar and Lunar Eclipses, as well as other Science information that students do not have a thorough understanding of. I enjoyed the program and the students learned a lot of the Solar System.”

– 5th Grade Teacher, River Oaks Academy, Charlotte, NC

From a Teacher...

“The Orbit Earth program visits our camp yearly. The children are always authentically engaged in the program, enjoy the program and leave with a wealth of new knowledge. Program is curriculum based and hands on.”

– Amber Mack-Little, Teacher, St. Peter’s Education Celebration Camp – Winston-Salem, NC

From a Teacher...

“This was my first time seeing the Earth Orbit Expo. It was a phenomenal program that I would recommend to other schools and colleagues. One of the reasons it was such a phenomenal program is because it covered a variety of 5th grade science concepts and aligned perfectly with NC 5th grade science standards. The demonstrations throughout the program were hands on and the students loved being involved. The demonstrations were very engaging and related to everyday life. This allowed the students to make real life connections with the concepts being presented to them. The presenter for our program was awesome. She was serious about what she was teaching, but she also was fun and humorous at the same time. I would love to have this program back at ARS as a science EOG review day!”

Ansley Lail, 5th Grade Science/Social Studies Teacher, American Renaissance Elementary – Statesville, NC

From a Teacher...

“Western Guilford continues to welcome Orbit Earth Expo from SparkPoint Innovations back to our campus each year because of inquiring 6th grade minds! This program meets standards in science, social studies, math, and language arts. It is a hands on presentation presented by dedicated and excited teachers who are experts on the material. The students love getting to see the presentation of the planets, seasons, tides, winds, and sun, as well as the phases of the moon and eclipses –  and they get to be involved in the presentation!”

– Meghan Strickland, Science teacher, Western Guilford Middle – Greensboro, NC

From a Teacher...

“Orbit Earth was an awesome way to connect all the science units together for our students.  They were able to physically see how things connect and don’t just operate as single study units.  The interaction for our students will be something they will remember for a long time, longer than just to take the EOG!! Awesome work and great presentation.”

-5th grade teacher, Hawk Ridge Elementary – Charlotte, NC

From a Principal...

“Students (and staff) thoroughly enjoyed the Orbit Earth Expo today! Students learned about the earth’s movements and the role it plays in our days and nights, and the changing of the seasons. We were able to see why a solar or lunar eclipse occurs, and what causes the phases of the moon. A giant 14 ft. diameter earth brought the science to life. We are so thankful for “Miss Tracy” who kept our kids mesmerized while they learned.”

– Jane Wallace, Principal, Hunter Street Elementary, York, SC

From a Teacher...

Our classes had just began teaching on many of these subjects so I could see the students connect and engage in further understanding on the topics. This event covered numerous topics of interest that are standards as well. The display was amazing, the teaching worked great with a large group. I loved that we could utilize their talents and information both during the day and in the evening for special events. I was able to bring my 6 year old grandson in the evening and he was able to explain much of the information at the activity we ran that evening, a testimony in itself, the parents were in awe. A very engaging, thoughtfully presented, informative program. Loved it!

– 5th Grade Teacher, Doby’s Mill Elementary, Lugoff, SC

From a STEM Coordinator...

“Earth Orbit Expo is a highly motivating program for students to learn more clearly about the relationship of the Earth to the Moon and the Sun. It is visual in that students get a clearer picture of what is happening with the orbit. And the Presenter puts them into the learning and connects with the students in helping them to understand.”

Cassie Tyler, STEM Coordinator, Rogers Elementary, Rogers, MN

From a Teacher...

“Orbit Earth was such an amazing experience for my students. In the classroom, teaching about eclipses, the moon phases, and orbiting can be tricky because of lack of space. This program did a phenomenal job reinforcing what was taught but making it REAL for the students. They were able to see how rotating and revolving are different. They were able to see how when the moon phases changed as the moon orbits the Earth. Even those that weren’t too excited about it in the classroom came back from the presentation and were excited to talk about it some more! Thank you so much for coming to our school.”

– Brenna Bermal, 3rd grade teacher, Centennial Elementary, Circle Pines, MN





Where Have Rocky and Orb Taught?

Torrence Creek Elementary

Carpenter Elementary

See pictures from our 2015 visit or our 2018 visit or visit their webpage.

Grand Oak Elementary

Cox Mill Elementary

Hickory Ridge Middle

See pictures from our visit or visit their website.

River Gate Elementary

Highland Mills Montessori

See pictures from our visit or go to the school’s website.

Sharon Elementary

See pictures from our visit or go to the school’s website.

J.N. Fries Magnet School


 See pictures from our 2016 visit or from our 2017 visit or go to the school’s website.


Socrates Academy

Olde Providence Elementary

Barringer Academic Center

First Ward Creative Arts Academy

Stoney Creek Elementary

W.M. Irvin Elementary

Lansdowne Elementary

Elizabeth Lane Elementary

St. Peter's World Outreach Center

See pictures from our 2016 visit or our 2017 visit or our 2018 visit.

Winget Park Elementary

Elon Park Elementary

Smithfield Elementary

Polo Ridge Elementary

Rocky River Elementary

West Stanly Middle

Southern Pines Elementary

Visit the school’s website or check out photos from our visit.

Highland Creek Elementary

Randolph Middle

Enochville Elementary

Western Guilford Middle

View pictures of our 2017 visit or our 2018 visit or check out the school’s website.

River Oaks Academy

See pictures from our visit or check out the school’s website.

Rolesville Elementary

See pictures of our visit or check out the school’s website.

Sheep-Harney Elementary

J.C. Sawyer Elementary

Envision Science Academy

J. W. Parker Middle

Check out the school’s website.

Davis Drive Middle

Royal Oaks & Boger Elementary

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