Today, while in a meeting for the International Year of Astronomy, someone mentioned hearing someone state that we need a goal of no child left inside. Instead of just showing them imaged stars with robot telescopes across the Internet, we need to send them outside to look up. Instead of just giving them synthetic experiences in virtual realities, we need to send them outside to lookup. Instead of just bringing them real data that comes from data archives, we need to send them outside to look up.
There are places for Internet-based learning tools, but while we prepare our virtual experiences and aim for large impact, we also need to get everyone – everyone – to just go outside and look up.
Leave no child inside. When the skies are clear, take a little one by the hand and go outside and look up.
Find things to oberve on Sky and Telescope’s website.
I’m all for this idea…get out and experience the sky! When I was teaching fifth grade, we did an observing project that lasted about half the year. The students had to “adopt” an object in the sky…whatever was easily visible–usually fall/winter constellations and stars, sometimes a planet or two, once even a comet! The students found their object in the sky and made at least 5 separate observations of the object and recorded the information in a journal. Then, they presented information about the object to the rest of the class. Some students did more than 5 observations or more than one object. The really neat thing was that their journal entries had to be signed by a parent, so they were often sharing the sky with Mom or Dad. It was great to hear them talk about how they “showed Mom where Venus was” or “showed Dad how to find the Orion Nebula.” We also measured shadow lengths to track seasonal changes, observed the moon, and observed clouds. Nothing like experiencing the real thing! [And, nothing like a good excuse to take the class outside! :-)]
P.S. Had that fruity beverage yet? 🙂
That sounds like a great project! I may have to borrow something similiar for my college students. It sounds like it really gave the students ownership of what they were learning, and promoted family learning as well.
Creating teachable moments is rare, and you found a good way to do it!
P.S. So far nothing fruity, but after asking about an odd drink that looked like my fish tank water after my catfish severed all the plant leafs from their stalks, I had a drink filled with mint leaves.
This is great !!
I have awebsite where people can ask an astronomer about space and astronomy and I think it’s so importnt to have them actually look at the stars. I would love to add that aspect to my site.
Starr , Astronomer