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Short talk to 9 year olds


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By all means teach them, and ever so importantly let them ask ANYTHING at ANY point in time no matter how much of your time it takes up. But if you really want them to take it in then let them have hands on experience with the subject/equipment - it's one of the very few ways we learn.

Nobody learns to swin from being told how to swin, nobody learns to ride a bike from being told how to ride a bike, nobody learns to drive ...... .... .... the list is endless

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Did the talks today and it was great, kids asking loads of questions, teachers really enthusiastic, hands on stuff went down well, and quite amazed by 9 year olds knowledge and thought process. When d

One that never fails for me is a demo of the phases of the moon. Dark room, large white ball (the moon) and torch (the sun) pointing at the ball. You then get the children to walk around the ball so t

Good luck with this. I assume you'll have quite a limited time slot, so I'd recommend focussing on just one thing. If you're interested, here's a couple things I prepared with talks like this in

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At KS2 the national curriculum only really covers the solar system so I would take props to model the solar system, scopes (largely as stage scenery) and give it a focus on exploration and scale of the solar system. Get the kids to model the solar system but I start by not telling them how far away they have to be, that's where you get your jaw drop moments. Illustrate that pluto as a squash ball at the far end of the hall and get them to launch a space mission (throw another ball at it) and if they want to have a successful mission they have to hit it, they'll be unlikey to do so. Then tell them that a better comparision would be putting that ball in (insert city 100km away) and hitting it from here.

 

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I recall something , I think on Stargazing Live , about using a toilet roll to demonstrate the size of the solar system,and how long along the  roll each planet is

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55 minutes ago, Mark-V said:

I recall something , I think on Stargazing Live , about using a toilet roll to demonstrate the size of the solar system,and how long along the  roll each planet is

Are you sure that wasnt a way of detecting the presence of Klingon's?

 

 

Yeah ok ill get my coat.

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On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2016 at 15:39, baggywrinkle said:

If time allows and as it will be in the daytime set the telescope to look at some distant tree or object so they can appreciate what it does. But don't forget a small step for them to stand on..

I second Frank's suggestion.  During last year's eclipse I was asked to come and speak with a class at my son's school.  In the end, 3 classes came out along with a load of teachers, so about a hundred people in total.  The only problem was that it was completely cloudy and so all of the focus was on me for the hour the teachers had set aside for it.  So I set one of the scopes up to look at the leaves on a tree a few hundred yards away, and almost without exception all the children who looked at it were amazed.  Just imagine if they'd been able to see the eclipse!!  One practical suggestion though would be to use something other than your favourite eyepiece!!

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Well, we're all set for next Wednesday afternoon, 2 one hour slots so all year 5 have the same experience. Quite looking forward to it as that gives loads of time for some pupil participation. I could even split them into a few teams, named after constellations, get them to organise the food props in order from the sun, best diagram of their constellation etc. 

Also I'm sure I've seen big table based sand pits in the school. That could be the start of a good discussion on the number of stars in the universe. 

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I just remembered something I heard at a Wessex astro society evening a few months ago. One of the presenters mentioned doing a talk at a school, and she'd set up her iPad at the other end of the hall, displaying a hi quality picture of the moon. Her telescope, at the other end of the room, was trained on the iPad, and apparently all the kids were very impressed ... I don't know what her setup was, but she was (just) able to focus on the moon image ...

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Yeah, facts are always good. I remember as a kid being amazed by just how hostile Venus is, not the kind of place you would want to go on a holiday thats for sure!

You might even be able to explain gravity (or maybe even the gravity/spacetime relationship) with a few simple props.

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Loads of good suggestions you've got :smile:    I've used the toilet roll illustration with 11-year olds and it went very well.  1 sheet is the distance to Mercury and you scale from there.  It was great watching their faces (I did 6 sessions in a day) as they walked in the room and saw a toilet roll on the desk :wink:  I did facts on each planet then - and would you want to go on holiday there?

Enjoy :smile:

Helen

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9 hours ago, Helen said:

1 sheet is the distance to Mercury and you scale from there.

That's a great idea thanks. I don't suppose you can remember the number of sheets to the rest of the planets do you??  I can obviously work it out but if anyone has it to hand (so to speak, as it is a toilet roll ??!!). 

Update - one quick google search and I found it, doh!  

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3 hours ago, Peco4321 said:

That's a great idea thanks. I don't suppose you can remember the number of sheets to the rest of the planets do you??  I can obviously work it out but if anyone has it to hand (so to speak, as it is a toilet roll ??!!). 

Update - one quick google search and I found it, doh!  

One tip -  it is worth using decent toilet paper so that it doesn't tear too easily (and have some sellotape handy just in case!!)  You could add to it by getting some laminated pictures of the planets and getting the kids to hold them up at the right points and maybe print some facts on the back for them to read out.

Have fun!

Helen

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Did the talks today and it was great, kids asking loads of questions, teachers really enthusiastic, hands on stuff went down well, and quite amazed by 9 year olds knowledge and thought process. When discussing how big the whole universe is, one asked what's on the other side, and another answered maybe another universe!   Quite profound for that age. Didn't have time for the toilet roll exercise!  

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On 21 September 2016 at 21:39, Peco4321 said:

Did the talks today and it was great, kids asking loads of questions, teachers really enthusiastic, hands on stuff went down well, and quite amazed by 9 year olds knowledge and thought process. When discussing how big the whole universe is, one asked what's on the other side, and another answered maybe another universe!   Quite profound for that age. Didn't have time for the toilet roll exercise!  

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Well done Peter - they all look like they're thoroughly enjoying themselves!!

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Last school year I did talks for 9 year olds and 5 year olds.  I took a telescope and lots of photos.  The children had clearly been well prepared by their teachers and knew a lot before I spoke to them.  Most of the time was taken up with a Q&A session.  The older children asked a huge variety of questions, from "have you ever seen a UFO?" to "Do any of the exoplanets found by Kepler have a breathable atmosphere?" (yes, really!).  The younger children mostly wanted to know what the sun and planets are made of.

It was a hugely enjoyable experience and I have been invited back to do the same this year.

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Don't underestimate 9 year olds. We had one visit last Saturday. He asked about " black holes", I thought here we go, how do I explain this to a 9 year old. I said we can't actually see them, he replied " no, that's because their effect is too strong for light to escape, do you think they may be partly responsible for the gravitational lensing of galaxies" :shocked:  And that was just the start!. He might have been nearly 10 though.  :icon_biggrin:

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1 hour ago, Peter Drew said:

Don't underestimate 9 year olds. We had one visit last Saturday. He asked about " black holes", I thought here we go, how do I explain this to a 9 year old. I said we can't actually see them, he replied " no, that's because their effect is too strong for light to escape, do you think they may be partly responsible for the gravitational lensing of galaxies" :shocked:  And that was just the start!. He might have been nearly 10 though.  :icon_biggrin:

Children like that can be brilliant but they are also a risk in a presentation. The risk is that you end up having a conversation with that child which is witnessed but not understood by the rest of the audience.

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3 minutes ago, jnb said:

Children like that can be brilliant but they are also a risk in a presentation. The risk is that you end up having a conversation with that child which is witnessed but not understood by the rest of the audience.

That very nearly happened to me, one kid walked in and just started blurting out every fact he thought he knew, great enthusiasm but very distracting. It continued until the teacher got him under control when he started arguing about black holes and the opposite is a white hole and just going way off on a tangent. Turns out he needs tablets to calm him down, has a brother in my daughters class as well who is equally as uncontrollable. 

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1 hour ago, Sirius Starwatcher said:

Peco Sorry I missed you're initial  thread. Glad to hear that the presentation went well. The above link is something I posted last year which may have been of use to you. I post it now in case you do another presentation in the future.

The teachers said "see you next year!" on my way out. Could be a yearly thing. 

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