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Thread: Grade 5 outreach.

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    Default Grade 5 outreach.



    Just came back from giving my 7th astronomy talk at a local grade school.
    I do it twice a year. One for a grade 5 class, and the other for grade 6ers.

    Today was grade 5, and it was as delightful as ever.
    I had them wide-eyed for 2 1/4 hours, and what a finale!

    This time I brought a prism to show them a diffraction spectrum of white light, but the sky was overcast, so I just did my "show" (basically answering questions their teacher had them prepare).
    I had told them that a prism only works with sunlight, and by all accounts, one of them remembered:
    Just 15 minutes before the end of the schoolday, a little boy yelled "The Sun! The Sun!", and sure enough, there was a big ray of sunlight pouring into the classroom.

    You can tell them about the spectrum, but nothing beats showing them those amazingly bright colours appearing as if by magic on the wall. That was a big hit with the kids, and the opening I needed to tell them about the electro-magnetic spectrum (eyes as big as saucers when they learnt radio is light, and that we actually have radio-telescopes that can take pictures!).

    I gave the prism to the alert boy who spotted the sunlight, as a reward. His classmates actually congratulated him for it!

    At the end of the day, the kids still had questions so I told them to give their questions to their teacher, and she would e-mail them to me.
    One little girl apparently couln't wait. She ran up to me just as I was leaving, and handed me a folded sheet of paper with her name, Leslie, written on the outside. Here's what was inside, and I apologize. These are all questions, but the question-mark key on my keyboard is on the fritz:

    - What would happen if we had no atmosphere.
    - Why is the Earth's shape not stable.
    - How many types of telescopes are on Earth.
    - What would happen if we had no Sun.
    - What would happen if we had no Moon.
    - How can the Sun's light make electricity.

    Now I don't know about you, but being showered with such sheer and exuberant curiosity is an amazingly solemn delight for me. I'll be damned before I betray such trust. I have no children of my own, so I have all the time needed to respond with care, and I'm so looking forward to it. (A few of those questions will require some research, and I have a feeling I'm also going to learn a whole lot of new stuff!).

    If you ever get the chance to talk to a bunch of 10 yr olds about astronomy, you should really go for it. Those outreach sessions have become my favourite days of the year.
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    Default Re: Grade 5 outreach.

    Hello Voyager3. A splendid report from you. This goes beyond simple outreach, as this is a continuing eduction program that you are doing. I imagine the kids are very happy to see you, when you show up for an astronomy talk. And, I bet that you have as much fun at the students. Thanks for your report, and keep up the good work. Let us know how your next talk goes at the school, and best wishes on your great efforts.
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    Default Re: Grade 5 outreach.

    Great stuff. Kids are great. I find that asking them questions works better than telling them things. The hands go up and the room takes off.
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    Default Re: Grade 5 outreach.

    Awesome report! I can feel your buzz just from reading it.

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    Default Re: Grade 5 outreach.

    Voyager,

    A lot of work there, in particular with younger children.

    Good itinerary and looks as if they enjoyed every minute of your visit.

    Nice job!

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    Default Re: Grade 5 outreach.

    I was about that age when I started viewing. We didn't have any speakers to get us motivated, but I did do an astro-navigation course in boyscouts. It was fun learning how to navigate with the stars like sailors have been doing for centuries. Nova was a big hit with me also & I still watch it to this day. Thanks for the post voyager.
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