Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Around the World in 50 Minutes

Today in Astronomy Camp, I put a list of a bunch of topics in astronomy history up for the kids to see, & had them pick one. I also let only one kid have any given topic. There were 23 things on the list, & only 10 kids in the class, so there was plenty to choose from. Six kids wanted Ancient Greek Astronomy! So I had all six choose a second topic, & said that possibly one of them could do Ancient Greek Astronomy, depending on what else got picked. The very next topic, two of those kids wanted, so I let them decide between themselves who was going to do which. Another kid, though, all he wanted to do was Greek Astronomy, & nothing else. Since he wouldn't pick something else, I used the rand() function in a spreadsheet program to pick one for him. I think that kid was one who, during introductions yesterday, had said his parents' were making him come to Astronomy Camp. The entire time he was resistant to doing anything.

Once all the kids had picked a topic, we went down to the computer lab. Starting with Astronomy for Kids, they each read about the topic they had chosen, then used Google searches to find pictures, and sometimes more information, about their topic. I gave them an hour and a half to work on that, & those who finished sooner were given the choice of doing a second topic, or playing on Flash Planetarium, which I had used yesterday to help them learn to use their planispheres. They used a word processing program to make some notes & save their pictures, which I then saved to my jump drive. The last hour of Camp today, we went back to the classroom, I plugged my jump drive into the computer there that was connected to the projector, & they each gave a little 5 minute presentation on their topic.

I also did some preparation for the next couple of days. Tomorrow, Michelle Larson from the USU Physics Department, is coming to talk to the kids for about half an hour, so I talked to her about that, & also gave her directions to the room. I also talked to the Logan District Computer Specialists & arranged to get Stellarium on some computers for Thursday.

I think things are going really well.

ps. There is also a Harry Potter Camp going on at the same time, except it is 5 weeks long. They are mostly doing science activities. I talked to the guy in charge, & they are spending a week on astronomy. I got his e-mail address, so I'm going to try to keep in touch with him over the next year, & maybe get to be part of that next year.

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