Friday, June 27, 2014

A GREAT Day with the Teachers

Hey Space Placers!

Summer Milky Way & Lightning Hot Spot
G. Redfern
Spent a wonderful day yesterday with 22 science teachers from various Virginia school districts. They are taking a two week astronomy course hosted by the University of Virginia (UVA) Astronomy Department with Dr. Edward Murphy and Dr. Jennifer Maeng as the primary instructors..

The Blue Ridge Earth Science Collaborative, in conjunction with UVA offered ASTR 6340, "Astronomy Concepts in the Classroom" to science teachers who applied and were accepted.

The course objective is to give teachers a broad overview of astronomy and a basic understanding of the universe that we live in, with an emphasis on topics covered in the Virginia Standards of Learning for grades 4-9.

The group was energetic, interactive and asked really good questions. I gave them my lectures on space rocks and the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater (CBIC). I brought real meteorites for them to see as well as samples from inside the 53-mile wide crater. 

Next week I will give presentations on the future of U.S. Manned spaceflight and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We will also be visiting UVA's Fan Mountain Observatory which I am really looking forward to seeing.

Teachers and parents have such a critical role in children's exposure to science and nature. I have discussed at times in my blog about what it takes to become a professional astronomer. Being with these teachers and the kids last week from the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp that visited UVA's McCormick Observatory  was such a joy as they were enjoying learning about their Universe.

One of my primary motivations in my outreach is to provide people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to discover that they can understand the Universe they live in. Once they understand that they CAN understand, they are off and running on their personal voyage of discovery.

Read this article and think about anyone you might be able to help along their way. Providing learning and discovery opportunities, a relevant birthday or Christmas gift coupled with words of encouragement can go along way in getting a child started on their way to a STEM-related career.

Once the spark is ignited the results are a joy to see and be a part of……

Sky Guy in VA

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