Monday, April 16, 2012

42 Days

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now

Betelgeuse, betelgeuse, betelgeuse!

Was the Celestial Object of the Day....complete with "homework" that is to look at the stars and contemplate them and maybe even download that amazing app, Stargazer, and really learn about the stars and planets and fundamentally shift your idea of place in the world....this is the goal, anyway. 

I think that teaching astronomy is this gift of a unit: it is an amazing space and tool to teach complex math, reinforce chemistry, talk about scientific theory, the nature of science, life on Earth and life other places, but most importantly it imparts a sense of wonder in everyone.

Today's homework is to go home and at sunset, look for Venus "The Evening Star", and then wait. Later, in the dark, to look South-Southwest for the Big Dipper, the Moon, Jupiter and Mars...then trace over a bit and find Polaris, and tonight look for Orion's Belt and then trace up a bit and find Betelgeuse, a star so huge that it would engulf Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt, maybe even Jupiter if it was our Sun. A star 640 light years (give or take) away, whose light that shines in our sky tonight was produced back in the 15th century, when Central America was just being first explored by Europeans. 

My a/c was broken today and it was 90 degrees and I will just let you imagine the level of stink and horror that was the perfume of my room by 3:45 today. Middle schoolers are stinky, stinky children....who love learning about space.

1. My heat tolerance is very high, apparently, and, good to know, as I remember from last summer, my perception of what is really hot will always help, not hinder, my flexibility in any given situation.
2. "Make a Bridge, and Get Over It"
3. Teaching about the Earth and stars and other planets
4. Students noticing Carl Sagan quotes on the board and repeating them to themselves
5. Clean desk, awesome substitute plans, a day tomorrow to start to fix my back.....

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