Hands-on astronomy

Posted by Karri Ferron
on Monday, February 09, 2009

In its 14th issue, the Astronomy Education Review (AER), a web-based journal about astronomy education and outreach, introduced a new section dedicated to teaching astronomy through demonstrations. John Keller of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and Steve Pompea of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory organized a set of seven educator-submitted ideas for hands-on learning in the classroom.

There are a mixture of models, demonstrations, and even a kinesthetic learning activity. And you don’t have to bust your wallet. Some of them would even work as recreation projects for you, your kids, and their friends as well. Getting students actively involved in their learning and providing them with visual opportunities for understanding increases interest and overall retention of information (at least that’s what my friends in education say). So why not try one of these projects out in your house, or encourage the teachers in your area to incorporate one of the demonstrations into their lesson plans? It might engage a new fascination with astronomy.

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