C.A. at the Academy for Global Citizenship - Sept 25, 2013 12:24:49 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Sept 25, 2013 12:24:49 GMT -6
The Chicago Astronomer visits The Academy for Global Citizenship - Chicago
24 September 2013
24 September 2013
I received a request to come an visit the Academy for Global Citizenship - (4647 West 47th Street Chicago, Illinois)
The Academy is a Chicago Public Charter School, located on the underserved Southwest side of Chicago. Our innovative and holistic approach to education aims to foster systemic change and inspire the way society educates our future generations. We are producing a replicable model for learning in the 21st century, including the construction of a net-positive energy campus.
...and talk about the Sun and Moon, since Ms, Gomez's 4th grade class was currently studying about the two. I recommended that the week of the 24th of September would be best since both the Moon & the Sun could be viewed and discussed - bringing a telescope with me.
It was agreed and I was hoping for a bright sunny day....and we got it.
Arriving at 9:30 am, I was welcomed by the staff and I set-up the C102 Refractor out near the front entrance and targeted the daytime Moon. Classes were brought out, assembled and I made my introduction and talked a bit about the Moon, being interactive with the well mannered students...
Composition, phases and the students brought up the possible origins of our satellite long ago., including capture and Earth formed blob. The students formed neat lines at the direction of their teachers and we start to observe the Moon...
Being a daytime Moon, the contrast was low and lunar disk diffused. Popping in a variable polarizer helped, but some had difficulty understanding what they were observing. Explaining what to look for, the image of the Moon pooped into view for many and took long looks. I did not rush any student who wanted to take their first look at the Moon, answering questions they had....
After all the members of the group had their views, we discussed what we just observed, (which lasted a little longer than planned), as many questions were being asked, not only of the Moon, but of cosmology and astronomy in general. Topics of Hypernovas, blackholes, "Spaghettification", Water on Europa, relative distances & time - and why Pluto is no longer a planet. we spent a while discussing this and most agreed that Pluto should not be classified as a Dwarf Planet... very impressive for 4th graders! Usually instructing teens and adults at our Chicago Astronomer Star Parties, I was attempting to utilize terms for the younger set, but most of the time, it was not necessary.
Slewing the scope now to the Sun, I placed the Baader Full Aperture solar filter on and we start observing our closest star....
(This young man above, had his space book at the ready and was asking me questions while he waited for his turn.)
And again, with their first time peeering at the Sun through a telescope and not knowing what to look for, I explained to each that in the FOV of the eyepiece was a dark circle....and in that dark circle was a bright ball. That was the face of the Sun...and those dark spots....were Sunspots larger than the Earth! Now, with data they could use, they were appreciating the experience. It's always very cool to be part of a young person's first astronomical experience.... ;D
Lunchtime was approaching fast and we spent so much time talking after the Moon view, that we did not have the time to chat about what we saw during the solar observing. The students asked me if I could join them for lunch and conferring the their teacher, I joined them...with two tables wanting and shouting to sit with them...
Humbled, I sat with each group at their tables for 10 minutes and being asked multiple questions about space and myself...having laughs while we ate our organic meals....of which the small remnants of the meal are composted on-site. The Academy is a very Green practicing school.
This was a fun school visit, with nice teachers and well behaved and interested students. More school visits should be like this.