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In my entry about the moon a few days ago astrogeek01 and naath brought up some tips on lunar education that I wanted to rebroadcast.

If you take a round shape and cast a shadow across it, you are demonstrating what happens during an eclipse.

If you take a ball, paint half of it black, and turn it slowly around an axis so different amounts of the black part show, you are demonstrating what happens during the moon's phases. Or even better yet... you stand in one spot, have the white part always face the same wall, move the ball around you.

Very important not to confuse the two. Both demonstrations will show a crescent kind of shape at one point, but that's the last time they'll have anything in common so you'll have a heck of a time explaining the gibbous phases if you mess this up. And apparently it's a common misconception that the moon's phases are caused by the earth's shadow. Think of the children.

And because I haven't talked about it yet this year, also think of the children when you teach them about snowflakes, make sure your snowflakes have six points. Don't screw up the future.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC)
oh, that's how you fold the paper to make them six-sided; I know the 8-pointed ones are wrong, but can never manage the folding. top tip!
Nov. 29th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
For our homeschool, I use the book Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. Its the only curriculum I've found that is very precise, doesn't leave out large swaths of science (many are glorified "nature study"), and has a lot of support for the sciencey parent about good places to stop so you don't compromise accuracy AND don't launch into a three hour lecture with your six year old.
Nov. 30th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC)
Dec. 1st, 2013 12:10 am (UTC)
Oh Lord don't get me started on seasons. I had a high school student still mess that concept up because it was ingrained in her head from elementary school.

Edited at 2013-12-01 12:10 am (UTC)
Dec. 1st, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Did you watch the linked video? Most *Harvard graduates* get it wrong.
Dec. 1st, 2013 03:22 am (UTC)
I couldn't resist-- I ran off and asked Erika (my 3-year old) why she thought the moon looked different every night. She said it was the same moon but it changed its shape every night. I asked her to explain why, and she gave me a can't-you-see-i'm-busy look and said "um, in a bit? I'm playing right now" Oh well. To be continued
Dec. 1st, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
I couldn't figure out from that page which video to watch?
Dec. 1st, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot how horrible their website is. Try this:


The whole thing is worth watching but the first three minutes will suffice...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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