Science by starlight

Ll We’ve all heard that our kids need more STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). And I agree—they do need more. Too often children are intimidated by these subjects or feel that lessons are too far removed from their daily experiences. So it is especially important that we find ways to bring STEM to life—a way to make children understand the tangible value of STEM education. Admittedly, I love geeking out with my girls and when I find an opportunity to get my girls excited about learning, I seize it.

A few years ago my family attended “Astronomy in the Park,” a nearly free event at Oak Grove Regional Park (you have to pay for parking). The evening’s star party was hosted by the Stockton Astronomical Society. Their passion for the sky was contagious. Members had vast knowledge of the objects we were observing and enthusiastically shared their knowledge with the girls. Each telescope had been carefully set up so that we could easily ooh and aah as we viewed the night sky. And when we got cold, we went inside for more astronomy-themed learning.  Our girls dropped “asteroids” onto the “surface of the moon” and observed the craters left in their wake. They had stars painted on their faces. In fact, the girls enjoyed it so much that I now coordinate an annual star party at our elementary school so that they and their fellow classmates can learn by starlight.

Astronomy in the Park is held monthly on the first Saturday after the New Moon. To learn more go to: http://www.stocktonastro.org/SkyTours.html

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