When was the last time you ended a lesson, looked over at your kids and their mouths hung open and their eyes bulged wide as they waited with bated breath for some explanation as to how something this amazing is even possible?
If your kids aren’t reeling with awe and wonder after a lesson in Astronomy something is wrong, and you can fix it by applying 3 simple but effective principles.
- Start with a question that the student should be able to answer at the end of the lesson
- Include captivating pictures and videos
- Connect the Astronomy Lesson to their current lives and future
Sample Lesson Using the 3 Principles:
Principle #1: Start with a question that the student should be able to answer at the conclusion of the lesson.
This does not mean the student can’t answer it at all right now, let him try.
Question: Besides the Earth, where else in the solar system can you live? The solar system is everything that revolves around our Sun.
Principle #2: Use Captivating pictures and videos
As the student answers the question let him look through some pictures (search ‘solar system’ using Google and click the images button for pictures)
- There is not another place in the solar system where we could live for even 5 minutes without a space suit, and very few places where even a space suit would help.
- Few places in the solar system have enough air pressure to keep our insides, inside our skin.
- Those planets that do have enough pressure to hold us together have too much and would squash us under a mountain of atmosphere.
- No place has anything we could eat or drink – not a morsel, not a sip – nothing.
- Earth’s atmosphere lets in what we need – sunlight and heat, and keeps out what would kill us – cosmic rays and radiation.
- Space is beautiful, but in the way that Mt. Everest or the vast Pacific Ocean is beautiful – beautiful but not hospitable.
- The Earth is a womb of safety, but even on the Earth we can only inhabit a very small sliver of the planet.
- Think about it. We can’t live very high off the surface or there is not enough air to breath (not to mention nothing to stand on).
- We can’t live below the ground because there is no air, not to mention room to move around.
- We can’t live in the water, which occupies most of the planet’s surface, and we can’t live near the north or south poles as it is too cold and there is no food.
- There is a very small pocket of area on the Earth that we can survive in.
- The vast majority of even the Earth is toxic to human life.
- The part of the Earth that we do live in is perfect for us, just the right distance from the Sun – not too hot and not too cold.
- It has just the right tilt, just the right atmosphere and just the right kind of food and water.
- It is positioned just right in the solar system, and the solar system is positioned just right in the galaxy – not near the dense radiation of the galactic center.
- The galaxy is positioned just right in the universe – not in a tight violent radiation-filled cluster of other galaxies.
Principle #3: Connect the lesson to the student’s life and future:
Did you know that the people who will eventually go to Mars are probably between the ages of 6-16 right now in 2011? Could you be one of the people to go? What might you contribute to such a trip even if you didn’t go personally? We need astronauts, astronomers, physicists, medical professionals, propulsion experts, psychologists, engineers and a myriad of other professionals. We need politicians to rally the public and secure the funding. There are many ways you can help. Get to it!
We invite you to purchase computer-based astronomy curriculum for your homeschooler here: www.HomeSchoolAstronomy.com