Stargazer Season: Inspiring Kids About Space Education

The night sky offers our children an endless opportunity for amazement.

 

Summertime is ideal for star peeping, and so if you are planning on taking the family camping, you have the chance to introduce the marvels of space. Unlike our ancient ancestors who had nothing but the naked eye and natural curiosity, we have extraordinary technology that demystifies the cosmos at the tap of a finger.

Astronomy seems like an abstract and somewhat obtuse science, but discoveries and inventions that spring from space education inform so much of modern life and can help us conquer real life problems. Here are some concrete reasons we should encourage our kids’ curiosity about the night sky.

Studying space can put math and science to work. For many kids, studying the planets is a great way to utilize. That first solar system mobile has potentially huge implications, sparking the imagination of our future engineers, astrophysicists and astronauts.

Innovation in specialized sciences trickles down to the average consumer. You know how GPS gets you around and shows you where you are? That would not be a reality if science had not pushed the envelope in terms of satellites, mapping and the Internet. Many other inventions we enjoy every day are also derived directly from NASA: firefighter gear, freeze-drying, improved radial tires and temper foam.1

There is so much we still don’t know. Scientific progress continues to teach us and enhance our quality of life. The search for knowledge is not bound by terrestrial concerns; it is as infinite as our universe itself.

 

Here are some great ways to get kids excited about stargazing.

  • Look up cosmic events. National Geographic has a great calendar and tips as to where you can get the best view of night sky activity: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/12/skywatching-sky-guide-2017-top-events-space-astronomy/
  • Get a stargazing app. There are several great GPS apps that enable you to point your device at the sky and see the constellations and planets.
  • Build a star map. It’s so easy to make a map of the night sky, and when you do, you’ll be surprised but how fast your kids will learn to recognize the constellations.
  • Visit a science and technology museum or an observatory. Summer is the perfect time to visit one of the many amazing museums and observatories that bring the majesty of space to live. There are also docents and staff there to answer questions, like talking to a real expert.
  • Make a sundial. An amazingly simple yet effective device, you can set this up in your backyard or in a sunny spot while you camp. Perfect for beginner astronomers to get started, a sundial makes a great introduction to learning about the wonders of our universe – and they’re pretty cool!

 

For parents, teachers and students, the base of knowledge we already have is awe-inspiring. However, we have a responsibility to foster inquiry in the new generation. This summer, do your part to bring the wonder of science to your family by simply going out on a clear night and witnessing the stars.

 

 

 

References:

  1. https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/tech_benefits.html
  2. http://gettingsmart.com/2012/04/infographic-the-decline-of-stem-education-in-the-u-s/
  3. http://gettingsmart.com/2012/04/infographic-the-decline-of-stem-education-in-the-u-s/

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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