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School Science Night

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#1 Gregen

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 10:14 AM

Hi all,
I just started planning a science night for my former elementary school so we could get their new telescope to use. This would not only be a astronomy night it would also involve other sciences. Inside a building we would have microscopes set up as well as a robotics demonstration, raffle to raise money for a good cause, a competition (Simple idea needed for this), and a but load of hand outs. Out side we would have a food and coffee stand in addition to three moderate sized telescopes and a "Star tour" with a laser. Outside we would look at various objects including the moon, Jupiter, Pleiades, and Orion Nebula. Any suggestions for the night? Other Bright objects to view? Outside lighting situation ideas? Other things to add to night?

Thanks, Clear skies, RIP John-

#2 Jay_Bird

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:17 PM

Don't overlook the double cluster, and maybe 1-2 double stars like Almach or Alcor & Mizar. The evening sky map from www.skymaps.com helps for facts to talk about; it could be a good optional handout but a little much for many grade 2 kids

#3 Jay_Bird

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

Maybe a classroom globe or ball and spotlight for hands on moon phase demonstration

Ignore the grade 2 comment above I was looking at other science night post

Maybe a check off list for sky objects and the other activities

Cartesian diver is a good demo too

Do a dry run with maintenance staff to find any glaring llights and solutions to them - how to shut off or are they safe to cover with grocery paper bag or aluminium foil etc.

#4 kfiscus

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 01:23 AM

I have used the following activity with a wide variety of audiences to good effect. We make a true-to-scale Sun/Earth/Moon system. This can start inside and then be taken outdoors, weather permitting. (I like to be 'bilingual' in the use of both English and metric units.) The scale of this model is 1mm = 1,000 miles.

Students can start with a blank white piece of notebook paper. Older students can be instructed to draw a tiny 2mm diameter circle at the intersection of the bottom blue line and the pink/red margin line. This represents the moon.

They next measure up 24 cm from their moon circle on the margin line and draw in an 8mm diameter Earth. This will neatly use most of the length of a piece of paper. For younger audiences or when time is of the essence, photocopies with the two spots' locations can be made in advance, leaving the learners the easy job of just creating the correct sized dots. The coolest alternative to this is using black construction paper and white dots of the correct size, glued on with two tiny dots of school glue. My school's copy machines held thousands of white 'Earth' hole punches and a special ed class's stencil machine made me tons of 2mm moon dots.

These all can belong to the learners, but the sun is special. I have created a large 86.4 cm diameter cardboard sun that is painted on both sides with several coats of yellow paint. This disk hangs in my classroom and travels with me to outreach opportunities.

The climax of the activity is a meter-stick gang. We talk about how many millimeters are on a meter stick. I remind them that the scale on their sheets is 1mm = 1,000 miles. I ask if anyone knows what 1,000 x 1,000 is. (Each meter stick is 1 million miles.) One lucky volunteer gets to hold the sun disk (almost a meter across) and stand at our starting place. My gang of 3-5 energetic volunteers begins at the sun, placing a meter stick on the ground. I step on it while the next stick is butted up against the end of the first. We all count and make sure the last stick is anchored while the gang of stick bearers keeps plopping sticks down, end-to-end. The Astronomical Unit (93 meters) is our goal. Each kid has their Earth/Moon sheet with them. When we've reached a 93 meter distance from the sun, we turn and look back at the sun model being held at our starting point by the volunteer. It has the same apparent size as the sun in the sky. We pinch the model sun between our fingers and thumbs to see the size the real sun has, as seen from Earth. This activity can be revisited/extended with discussions of eclipses, the causes of moon phases, distances of other planets, etc.
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