Space Club Highlighted at the Arizona STEM Expo

The space club that I mentor for the Sonoran Science Academy was invited to participate in the Arizona STEM Expo in early May. The kids and I were excited to share our enthusiasm for space, so we built an exhibit that reflected many of the activities that we’ve done over the semester.

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Our fantastic exhibit!
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Of course there were Stormtroopers
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The expo included robots and gadgets and demos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our fantastic exhibit featured our past activities, papercraft models, Lego models, NASA posters, science and Star Wars books, and lots of space-related brochures from NASA and Orbital Sciences.

Many expo attendees were intrigued by the Lego model of the Mars Curiosity Rover, built by one of our 7th graders, and I lost count of the people who borrowed my solar viewing glasses for a quick observation of the sun! In fact, those glasses were so popular that I need to order a bunch more to share next time we have an event.

The solar viewing glasses were very popular!
The solar viewing glasses were very popular!
A close-up of our models
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Our window on the Earth, as seen LIVE from the International Space Station!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Mr. Akpinar from Sonoran Science Academy for inviting us to the expo. It was great to share our love of space and science with others!

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Another post so soon?


Putting a bird on my son
Portlandia fans: we put birds on things

 

I’m not calling this a trend until I’ve posted more than 15 times in this new year. We stopped by the sandwich shop for lunch today and took this photo of Charlie with his blue jay “Rocket”. We are fans of “Portlandia”, which happens to start its second season in a few days on the Independent Film Channel (IFC), so it was an opportune time to put a bird on it (him).

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Happy New Year 2012!

Okay, I am back. One of my resolutions for the new year is to do less thinking about doing things and more just doing things. And way more writing.

Dan and I took Charlie to a “Mad Science” event for Cub Scouts recently, where we spent the afternoon in 5-6 sessions learning about the scientific method and how to apply it. Being in that kind of learning environment really energized us, and we started thinking about ways that we could help other kids learn about science. It would be great to try and get a similar afternoon session set up at Charlie’s school. I started wondering what it would be like to teach, and whether it would be as much fun if I weren’t just teaching my own son. I remember an old saying about doing the things that give you energy, and avoiding the things that use up your energy — and I can get fired up about tapping into kids’ natural curiosity and sharing my enthusiasm for the sciences, space, math, and just overall learning.

Real-time simulation of GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B orbiting the moon
Real-time simulation of GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B orbiting the moon

Speaking of space, did you know that there are two new satellites orbiting the moon as of today? GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B are due to be renamed soon — NASA gave kids the opportunity to name these twin spacecraft, and I’m hoping we’ll learn the new names in the coming weeks.

There is a great simulation that anyone can explore, at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eyes/. You will be able to follow the GRAIL spacecraft from launch to orbit and decommissioning (crashing into the moon), and also explore the rest of the solar system and other satellites as if you were in your own craft, zooming in and learning about each stop.

I’ll try to post here at least once a week from now on, and I hope to hone some mean writing skillz and work on a short story or two. Hope you’ll join me in my journey!

 

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