Saturday, January 16, 2010

Telescopes and Children

On Friday, we hosted about 26 first and second graders, plus two fifth graders, from the EP1 public school.  Lia Corrales and Nick Hunt-Walker were the two graduate student volunteers for this group.  The visit lasted from 11 am to about 12:45 pm.

A lot of the session was based on telescopes. The kids were asked to draw a picture or write their name on a piece of paper, which we taped to a wall on the opposite end of the hallway. Then they looked at the pictures through a galileoscope to see how the image was flipped upside-down. We showed them how the lenses flipped the image using an optics bench demonstration. We then gave them a tour of the observatory and explained to them the difference between a refracting (lense) telescope and a reflecting (mirror) telescope. Finally, we gave them a slide show of solar system pictures and answered their questions. The children sang us a song before leaving.

Overall, it went well because the kids were enthusiastic (and adorable). One thing that would have made it better would have been using tripods with the galileoscopes. It was difficult to keep them steady enough for the kids to look through. An adult ended up steadying each using the back of a chair so that kids could look, so it took a long time to get through that portion of the activity.

- Lia -

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