Moon Landing Day: Teaching Astronomy and Cultivating a Love for the Stars
It has been 54 years since Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar landing module and placed his feet on earth’s only moon. We honor this remarkable achievement – and the years of intense effort it took by many teams of earthbound humans – every year on July 20, the day that the landing and those fateful steps took place.
Teaching Kids to Love Astronomy
Every sighted human has seen the moon or a fraction of it. Unlike the vast scale of space, the moon is relatable, a touchstone for earthlings or – better – a jumping off point to explore space’s further reaches. Like teaching adults, kids respond to what they know. Starting with the moon is an entry point to teaching kids about the stars or helping them gain a love for outer space. (Now, I am thinking about “inner space” and belly buttons and hoping teachers can coax a giggle out of the youngest students by talking about near-earth space before moving onto outer space.)
Green vs Red Laser Pointer: How to Choose for Teaching Astronomy
In astronomy, where you use a laser pointer is important. A red laser pointer is popular in planetariums and in classroom settings. Green is commonly seen in outdoor situations, such as star gazing. In the debate of green vs red laser pointers, having both on hand in a single tool enables indoor teaching and demonstrating, as well as teaching outside while pointing at the night sky. In any dual use case, Alpec’s Emerald Duo Red and Green Pointer is ideal. Both colors and capabilities are available in a single pointer. Rad, right?
Of course, you can get individual tools for individual tasks.
- The Emerald Green Laser Pointer is popular for those seeking a green astronomy laser pointer for the rich green color emitted from this slim, pen-sized tool. Range is 6,000 feet and it is very bright, 30 times brighter than red. The human eye is drawn to it, a neat trick for teachers who need to capture the attention of easily distracted young humans or who need to cast a light far into the deep of space.
- The Slimline Red Presenter has a range of 1,500 feet, is comfortably bright and pinpoint accurate whether the classroom lights are on or off. Many educators prefer red for indoor teaching environments because it is a bit easier on the eyes.
Use Tools to Engage
There are lots of ways to engage young minds around astronomy. Following the moon each day of the school year or for a month at a time can demonstrate the rhythms of our universe. Arbor Scientific’s YouTube channel has lots of videos on various aspects of space. They even have a great video demonstrating how to use a green laser pointer in the classroom.
The warmer weather of summer and early fall is the perfect time to plan a stargazing trip. Maybe it is the perfect way to kick-off the new school year’s STEM lessons?