View Ridge Elementary School Science Night

Default event

Open to Public

Type: Outreach

Held on: May 17, 2012 (Thu) at 07:00 PM to May 17, 2012 (Thu) at 09:00 PM

Location: 47.680880, -122.341411

Event Coordinator: Zongyao Mao

View Ridge Elementary School Science Night

Map

Latitude 47.68136, Longitude -122.3408605

Notes

View Ridge Elementary School was the site of another very successful and enjoyable Science Night on Thursday, May 17. As part of the SAS outreach effort, Diane, Dave, and Mary (me) planned and presented various astronomy materials and activities to students and their parents. We were joined in our presentation by Greg, a View Ridge parent and amateur astronomer, who brought his 4" NexStar 4SE telescope. I brought my 102 mm refractor, and Dave brought his 10" Dob. The three telescopes, representative of the major telescope types, generated major interest and many questions from both students and parents. I spent considerable time answering questions from parents about how to find and buy a good telescope. Because observing was impossible during the Science Fair hours of 6 - 8 p.m., we were rather limited to just talking about telescopes, although Greg did generate considerable interest by focusing his NexStar on a distant poster on the far wall and letting kids and parents take their first look through a 'scope. From the thrilled reactions, one might think they had been viewing the wonders of Andromeda rather than a prosaic, mundane poster. There were far more questions about acquiring a telescope at this Science Night than at the previous one, and I think the actual telescope views, limited as they were, might have been responsible for that.

As the Science Fair began, parents and students were primarily occupied with touring the room, in which very impressive displays of individual science projects created by students were displayed. However, after the first fifteen minutes or so, the word about our astronomy display traveled quickly, and we found ourselves very busy. I had launched my expansion of the universe activity, using balloons and bubble gum, as described in my previous post about the Olympic View Science Night. Given the noisy, carnival atmosphere of the event, it was rather difficult to really explain thoroughly the intricacies of inflationary theory, but part of the point of the bubble gum and balloons was simply to attract kids and parents to our display. And that goal was accomplished! I did manage as the event was winding down to talk more in depth to a third grade boy, who wants to be an astronomer, and to a very precocious fourth grade girl, who asked some questions that were quite amazing, given her age. With my exploration of the expansion of the universe and the constellation programs brought by Greg, we managed to touch on the main observational and cosmological aspects of astronomy. Diane also brought some information on the constellations and on the approaching solar eclipse and did a great job of explaining these topics.

From beginning to end, the event was very rewarding and fun. I think the almost palpable excitement which set the tone for the evening was partially due to the fact that students had participated in creating fascinating projects for this Science Night. Perhaps the intensive immersion in science required by creating those fascinating projects inspired more than the usual interest and excitement about our astronomy activities. And that contagious student and parent excitement made the evening an enjoyable experience that I'm sure the four of us will long remember.

Mary Anderson

Summary

Number of Supporters: 4

Number of Attendees: 100

Number of Telescopes: 3

Duration (hours): 2.0

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