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borschevsky
Chessnut

 Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 5:19 pm    Post subject: 1 So next week I'm going to talk to my mom's grade 1 class about space. I figure I can answer many of their questions just off the top of my head, but I don't really know how to phrase things for them. If they ask how far away the sun is, just telling them 93 million miles doesn't seem useful; maybe it's better to tell them how long it would take to drive there or something. Or if they ask how far Mars is, my first instinct is to draw a diagram: sometimes Mars is close, but sometimes it's way over on the other side of the sun. But that seems too hard for them too. Any ideas/advice?
Courk
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 6:27 pm    Post subject: 2 93 million miles will register as a big number with them, I think, but they'll probably associate it with 200 or something. Tell them maybe how long it'd take to drive to somewhere far from where you live but that they would likely have heard of (Disney World comes to mind), and then tell them how long it'd take to get to the Sun. A diagram about Mars sounds like it would work. I think they'd understand "Oh, sometimes Mars is there, and other times it's over here."
Quailman
His Postmajesty

 Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 7:20 pm    Post subject: 3 Also, you might try relative distances. "See these two dots I drew on the blackboard, about a quarter inch apart? Well if one was you and the other was me, the sun would be somewhere behind you, in central Kansas."
Mackay
Saviour of Spiders

 Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 2:49 am    Post subject: 4 Kids are pretty cluey. I think they'd understand if you drew a diagram. My only recommendation is as many visual aids as you can squeeze in there. It makes it more interesting, and more fun. Especially if it's something where they can get involved. Any chance of getting them out in the playground and demonstrating the relative distances using the kids themselves? Or is it strictly an in-classroom talk? Here is something that looks fun, but wouldn't really demonstrate the relative distances or sizes (oh wait, it does sizes to an extent) of the planets so much as the general idea of rotation and revolution... though it could be modified. This looks even more fun and would help learn the order of the planets, but would also be absolute mayhem, and remembering the order might be a bit too tricky. How are your energy levels? =]
Jack_Ian
Big Endian

 Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 11:41 am    Post subject: 5 If you only lived a million days, then you would be over 2737 years old. If you need to go 93 million miles and you walked 1 mile a day then it would take 254 thousand 625 and a half years to get there. Remember the half year, they are really important to 6 year olds. I just had a conversation this morning with my five year old son. He wanted to know why it seemed as though the sun was following us as I drove him to school. I told him all about how we decide where something is, by knowing which direction the light comes from. I then went on to explain what parallel means and why light from the sun is almost parallel because it is so far away from us and that even though we are moving, the sun always seems to be in the same direction and so seems to be following us. I was pretty sure he wouldn't fully understand and that I would have to answer questions later and so I told him that later this evening I would sit down with a pencil and some paper and explain it better. He told me it wasn't necessary. I assumed he just thought we had talked enough about it and that he wanted to move on and so I decided to drop it. He then said "So that's why mountains that are far away only look like they are the size of a house and that the houses on them only look like dots". "Yeah!", I said, kind of surprised that he actually managed to get what I had said. "Hey! The mountains are kind of following us too. Cool!" "Yeah!", I said, "It is kind of cool, isn't it?" "Yeah!", he said.
GH
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: 6 When my 4-yr-old asked me why the moon looks like it's following us, I just told him it was because the moon is insane. Now he doesn't ask me questions like that anymore. He's also afraid to be anywhere but in his bed under the covers after dark, which is purely a bonus.
i_h8_evil_stuff
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject: 7 Just sing this. Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown, and things seem hard or tough, And people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft, and you feel that you've had quite enough, Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour. It's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned, the sun that is the source of all our power. The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see, are moving at a million miles a day, In the outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour, of the Galaxy we call the Milky Way. Our Galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars, it's a hundred thousand light-years side-to-side, It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light-years thick, but out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide. We're thirty thousand light-years from galactic central point, we go round every two hundred million years, And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe. The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding, in all of the directions it can whiz, As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know, twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is. So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth, And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth._________________Space for sale. PM i_h8_evil_stuff for details.Last edited by i_h8_evil_stuff on Wed May 18, 2005 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
leptonn
Guest

 Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject: 8 I have a bit of experience in this field. I usually have two objectives: 1. Create Interest 2. Impress a sense of scale The first is quite easy: pictures, models, stories (ie. how many different ways you would die if you landed on Venus, or whatnot...). The second is best achieved by making a scaled solar system. Use a basketball or maybe something smaller as the sun and calculate where everything else should be, what size it should be, etc. It's usually possible to lay out the inner solar system in a long hallway, but you might need to point to stuff outside to show where the outer planets will be. Be sure to mention where Proxima Centauri would be. I usually just try to get into a conversational mode and tell stories about how things would be on different planets and minor bodies. I try to avoid numbers altogether : kids know that the oven is hot, and they can associate the temperature inside the oven with the temperature on the moon's sun-facing side. I hope this helps. Good luck.
borschevsky
Chessnut

 Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: 9 Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Apparently the class was brainstorming questions yesterday and the #1 pick was "Is there another universe?"
GH
Daedalian Member

Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 9:01 pm    Post subject: 10

I am here to save you.

 Diabolical 6-year-olds wrote: Is there another universe?

Correct answer: Well, we haven't found one yet.
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