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#1 Gregen

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:49 AM

On Friday I am doing my first small star party. The first part will be put on by local rangers, but I will be bringing a small group of 7th graders up a nearby hill to look at various objects with my small 6''. I will be telling many stories of constellations and let them use one of my binoculars to look at objects. Any advice?

#2 Skylook123

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

First, don't worry about having a lot of things to look at; Jupiter, the Moon, Orion Nebula will probably fill the time well if you teach a bit about each. The Galilean moons will be doing some tricks with occultations that night, so that will be cool to see, and the Moon offers a wealth of education from how it was formed to how it's moving further out and our day is getting longer, and the star formation around Orion is a pretty full agenda.

Regarding the constellation walk and talk, I usually start with a story about a person in Times Square tearing newspapers into shreds and throwing them in the street. A police officer asks why the person is doing this; "To keep the tigers away," replies the person. The police officer says, "There are no tigers in Times Square." "See, it's working!" So when we talk stories about the constellations and asterisms, I try to tilt it toward cultures keeping their tigers away. And the 7th graders are free to make up their own legends as well. In fact, I know a 7th grade English teacher who takes her students out one night each spring, has each one take a piece of the sky, and make up a story about what they see. Now they each own their piece of the sky, and get creative thinking practice.

These will be a great age for you to work with them, and open their thinking. Thank you for putting in the effort, and have fun with them!

#3 Gregen

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

Thanks Jim, I'll use your idea on making their own asterisms and of cultural stories of constellations. The only thing is I don't know how many kids I'll have so I will add the pleiades, hyades, and andromeda galaxy. If I have time of course, they can only be out so late.

#4 Skylook123

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:18 PM

The Pleiades can be quite a lot of fun to work with; SO many stories from SO many cultures.

#5 Gregen

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:16 PM

It also looks great with my smaller telescope.

#6 Skylook123

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:36 AM

And as the emblem for Subaru cars, which are named after the asterism.

#7 Gregen

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:40 AM

Hmm, cool I didn't know that.

#8 Pharquart

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

To make the "what do you see in the sky?" portion even more exciting for 7th graders, get a green laser pointer. Then, after CAREFUL explanation about where to point the thing, let the kids use the laser to point out their particular asterism. (I'd tell the kids that the first time I see the laser get pointed the wrong way, that kid's story is over and the next kid gets the laser.) Not only is the laser fun to use for kids, it makes it WAY easier for people to point out the stuff they see in the sky.

Brian

#9 dg152

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:53 PM

Ditto on the green laser. It really helps when pointing out something in the dark sky.

#10 kfiscus

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:37 AM

I can get a laugh by mentioning the Subaru parked next to the Taurus. It works if they know cars. I tell the story (modified for age appropriateness) of Orion chasing the seven sisters and the guard bull separating them.






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