ASP-EPO: Day One

(I’m on a bad connection and will add links later.) Another day, another conference. From Dragon*Con, I crossed half-way across the country to Chicago to attend the 119th Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific on “EPO and a Changing World.” This morning I’m sitting in a session presented by astronaut George “Pinky” Nelson (the astronaut who repaired Solar Max) on things that need to happen for education to be made more effective. He is focusing largely (and I feel correctly) on the need to support our teachers by providing them training, content, and infrastructure. Intriguing comment of the day: “We should only teach a geometric explanation of the lunar phases. Let’s pick a grade, say 5th grade, and...

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Up, Up and Away

Up, Up and Away

Pencil RocketThere are certain days as a teacher when you know you have done your job right. For me, one of those days was today. One of the classes I teach is “Space Physics.” In this 3 credit class, my students and I go on a tour de force of the history of spacecraft and exploration of our solar system. At the beginning of the semester, none of my six students had ever watched a space shuttle launch on TV, and their interest in the class existed, but let’s just say they didn’t seem eager and excited to learn as much as they could. But today, the last day of the semester, I saw that all this had changed. These were excited students, ready to take what they had learned and run (or rather fly) with it as far as they could. For some of them, that distance was a few hundred feet straight up.

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