Sunday, June 27, 2010

Success in Small Steps

The last day of Summer Astronomy Camp did not go off without a hitch, but it did go well. Stellarium hadn't been installed on the computers, so I tried calling the guy again, but only got voicemail. So we went outside, and I taught the kids to find an object with a small telescope or binoculars, then to align a finder scope with a bigger scope, and find an object in the large scope using the finder scope. Almost started a fire when I was showing them how to move the big scope around by accidentally pointing it at the Sun for a few seconds. But never heard back from the guy, so when we were done with that, we went down to the computer lab, and I showed them the website for Stellarium so they could get it at home. It's Open Source, by the way. Then we used the screenshots so they could see some of what Stellarium does, and I could tell them a bit about the controls. At the very end of the class, I had them all fill out a short survey about the camp, what they liked, what they would like to see in the future, that sort of thing. I haven't looked at the surveys, yet, partly because I was at Uprising, and partly because I want to have some space before I look at them. Since I kept this blog, I'm not too worried about forgetting things by the time I look at the survey. Except maybe which kid was which. I asked them NOT to put their names on the surveys, but I really don't want to know who said what.

Immediately upon finishing the class, I hurried home, put the telescopes away, and my husband and I headed off for Uprising. We got there just in time for dinner, missed court because we were setting up camp (it's very important to set up camp before dark), but I still had a couple of hours before it got dark enough for my class. It was intended for anyone, but got announced as a kid's activity, so most of the people there were kids, with a few parents along for the ride. The temperature was nice, we lasted about an hour before people started wanting to get back to campfires, myself included. There was one kid who kept interrupting, wanting to ask questions or add stuff about something I planned to talk about after first introducing a few basic concepts, to help people understand the later stuff better. It's cool when kids are so interested in things, but kind of frustrating when you know other people will be totally lost if you let things skip around too much. Oh well. The class went well overall, and I even had people all the rest of the weekend telling me they had wanted to come but either couldn't find us or thought it was just for kids. I guess I'll just have to volunteer to teach it again next year.

The best success of the last week, though has been that I've got another opportunity to teach. Girl's Camp, for the teenage girls at church, is next week, and the leader has asked me to come up and give an astronomy class for them. We're planning on Tuesday for that, weather permitting. I'll post here afterward about how that goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment