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My first club outreach

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#1 Jeff2011



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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:31 PM


This is my first time to post on this forum. I recently joined a club and participated in my first club activity which was an outreach event that we call astronomy on wheels. We visited a junior high, did a presentation and had viewings through our scopes. Unfortunately the weather was not too good and had to view the moon and Jupiter through the clouds, but it did clear towards the end. The school event had over 600 kids show up and they fortunately released them to the scopes at about 30 at a time.

I had a very good first experience and enjoyed sharing my scope with others. However, a few of the parents brought younger children and I was not prepared to handle them. They tended to grab and pull on my eyepiece before I could get their attention. Fortunately their parents were good at helping me out. Perhaps y'all can give me some tips on how to handle the little ones.

All in all it was an excellent experience. If I even just inspired one kid to get into the hobby or possibly even to become a professional astronomer, it was time well spent.

Tomorrow night I will be participating at my second club event. Our club helps the Houston Museum of Natural Science with public viewings at the George observatory which hosts a 36in telescope. I will not be bringing my scope this time as the club and museum has several smaller scopes at the observatory. I will either man a deck scope or help with crowd control.


#2 MikeBOKC



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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:45 AM

With smaller kids at outreach I politely ask parents to hoist them up to the eyepiece and caution both that if they grab ahold it will vibrate the scope and make it hard to see anything. Usually wors fine. I use the same line with older folks whose hands naturally drift up as they approach.

#3 Jeff2011



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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:05 PM

Thanks Mike. I actually started doing that towards the end of the viewing but sometimes things went so fast that I did not react quick enough. Yes even the adults wanted to hold on to the eyepiece, but atleast they knew enough not to pull on it. I guess I needed to instruct each viewer prior to giving them access to the scope.

#4 csrlice12


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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:32 PM

Straightjackets have proven to be an effective way of keeping one's hands off of equipment........ :lol:

for young kids though, have the parent help them look, they'll listen to their parents (hopefully), who will (hopefully) listen to you....

#5 tezster


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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:04 PM

I love outreach :-)

Bring a short stool for smaller kids. An 8 inch Dob is low enough for older kids to reach the eyepiece for a look. For families, it's a good idea to have the parents look first, then they can instruct their child on what to look for.

#6 Doc Willie

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

in addition to a stool, a walker is useful. It give the kids something to grab onto rather than the scope.

#7 Jeff2011



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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:34 PM

One of the other guys at the outreach had a step stool with a rail for his Dob. I liked the rail since little kids lose there balance easily. I had to send a few of the chubbier kids his way. My next school outreach is on March 7th. I will better prepared for that one.

#8 dg152


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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:48 PM

I've taken part in a couple of outreach events in which kids were involved. We had a step stool there for the shorter folks. Before the kids stepped up, I asked them to not touch the eyepiece (very natural reaction for everyone). To help them keep from touching I took their hand in mine. Parents were right there so they could see that nothing inappropriate was going on. Most kids didn't mind and it helped keep them from falling. I also used plenty of hand sanitizer.

#9 Jeff2011



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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:00 AM

Did my second school (junior high) outreach last night. The sky was clear starting out and the kids were better behaved. I brought a step stool along but only had to use it a few times. I was much better preparded this time. My targets were Jupiter, Ceres, and the Pleiades. Had a great time and was able to network with some club members.

#10 David Pavlich

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:13 PM

One of our club's favorite events is coming on 28 March. This will be our 6th year in a row there. Hoping for great weather!!


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