The Pleiades Star Cluster

Teaching Astronomy to Children

Within New Zealand, June provides the perfect opportunity for astronomers to get out into the community and spark the astronomy bug in children. Not only are we currently in winter, experiencing sunset really early — 6pm in some parts of the country and earlier in the far south — but it is also the Maori New Year, or Matariki as it is called, a time of the year that is marked by the dawn rising of the Pleiades Cluster.

Every year, I get asked by at least one of the local scout groups to introduce the kids to some of the concepts behind astronomy. This month's show of Conversations in Science was all about some of the tactics that I use to explain eclipses, seasons, and our place in the galaxy.

Teaching Astronomy to Kids
(First aired on KLRNRadio, Monday, June 5, 2017)

Topics covered on this month's show:

  • Matariki, the Maori New Year — What is it and why is it so special?
  • Winter nights within New Zealand and why June is perfect for introducing astronomy to children
  • Why we want to look at the moon when it is NOT a full moon
  • How Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter with a 2" telescope
  • How to explain eclipses, and how the moon and earth move around the sun
  • How to explain why we have seasons, and why we have equinoxes and the solstices
  • How to find the center of our galaxy
  • and much more.

Take a listen, and perhaps you'll catch the astronomy bug too.

(Feature Image: The Pleiades Star Cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters)

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017

Posted in Astronomy, ConvoScience Podcasts (Archive), Experiments with Kids, Science and tagged , , , , .

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