Need some help with Summer School Outreach
Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:09 PM
Great...Awesome...when can you come? So having never done anything like this, what should I expect? They are 3-5th grade students. Groups of 5 or 6 will spend about 10-15 minutes at the telescope. Not really sure what to talk about? I figure I would be asked about sunspots if there were any. Just a little nervous so I would take any help I can get.
Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:36 PM
Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:13 PM
Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:16 PM
Posted 22 June 2013 - 08:36 AM
This is an inexpensive and easy project. The advantage is that no one has to look through an eyepiece. For younger kids (in that third grade range) you might have some problems getting them lined up at the eyepiece correctly, and it's hard to point out sunspots to them. With a solar funnel, the image is projected onto a screen and the sun is about 4" across, making sunspots very visible and easy to point out with your finger while you look, too.
When I built mine (for the eclipses and Venus transit last year) I kept it very cheap and used a piece of a $2.99 white vinyl shower curtain from Walmart for the screen material. It works fine, though you might get more contrast from the rear-projection screen materials recommended on the site.
Since they're also doing some solar system studies, I highly recommend talking to them about scale of the solar system. I did this with a 4th/5th grade group and it went over very well. I developed much of my content with a nudge from a guy on these forums named Ted. One exercise demonstrates the size and distance of the moon relative to earth, with the other showing the size and distance of the solar system. Very cool, and very easy. If you're interested, let me know and I can send you some more detailed info.
Where is "west central Wisconsin"? I'm in the Mpls area.
Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:45 PM
Know some thing that will WOW them, like how much bigger the Sun is than the earth. If there is a big sunspot, let them know that it's almost the size of the earth, or half the size of the earth or your best estimate.
Explain that they should never look at the sun without special filters. Maybe tell them it takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for the sunlight to reach the earth.
If you have access to a good color printer you could probably find a few images of the sun in h-alpha or some other spectrum so they can see more then sunspots if you run out of stuff to talk about, and if it gets cloudy.
It's something most of them have never seen before, so most of them will probably think it's cool just to look through a telescope.
Not sure how old\big the kids are. The CPC at the lowest tripod level is probably pretty good height for most people, but depending on the and if they are real young kids a step stool might help anyone to short to see, or you could always tip the diagonal to the side. Make sure you tell each one not to touch the eyepiece. It's amazing how many people thing they need to hang onto that. And I think most of us only bring one or maybe 2 eyepieces max, and eyepieces that won't make you turn your stomach if\when someone touches the glass directly.
Despite a bad moment or 2, solar outreach is my favorite.
Posted 24 June 2013 - 08:26 AM
I like the idea of tieing in that the sun is 8 minutes in the past. Perhaps some sort of time travel reference.
Pharquart, I am in Mondovi, about 20 minutes south of Eau Claire.
Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:50 AM
After - even if you just leave something teacher can use for follow-up - here are some good links for scale of planets and stars. If you poke around NASA you can find materail for planets, sun, deep space, etc., for classroom visits.
+1 for Charlie Bates
Science at NASA has an entire section on heliophysics (big word for their space weather, solar and earth magnetic field page)
www.spaceweather.com is a good place too
Since time is limited, maybe a few minutes with pictures for the small group at scope, or slides on a classroom projector.
Some pictures from this site (they were originally attributed to NASA & UCAR when I pulled off web for a class visit 2-3 years ago) worked well with later elementary and middle school kids:
Other information about stars and the scale of the universe can be found at:
The two links above are the same presentation in 2 PowerPoint formats.
Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:45 AM
Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:38 PM
Thanks for all the information and suggestions. I hope to post some pictures when I get them from the teacher.