I know that I've been a little MIA lately, but I've said since I began this position that my classroom takes priority. I needed to take a second in my way too busy life to tell you about a powerful lab that I did in the classroom that really brought understanding stars to life. Project SPICA is a hand me down from my hubby who used it when he also was teaching. I even remember helping him to set up this lab, thinking at the time what a pain it was. Now that I've had students do it, I see why he set it up year after year. The impact this simple activity has is mind blowing. Not just for me as a teacher, but for the students themselves. I did a notebook check today, and read all the reflections that followed last Friday's lab. Students wrote things like, "I never really thought about constellations being 3D since from my perspective they seem flat." and "I'm starting to wrap my brain around the vastness of space after looking at the big dipper from multiple points in space."
Here is a pdf online that basically sets up this lab, but gives more detail.
Tomorrow morning students that were absent on Friday will be in to make up the lab. Placing eye hooks in the ceiling, I hung the "stars" according to the directions in the download. I will take a picture of my set up then. I used Christmas ornaments and rigged lights that could be turned on and off.
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