Wednesday, June 19, 2013

ETHOS Science 2 Go:Astronomy

This last week, we had an opportunity to visit the ETHOS Science 2 Go Bus as part of the Junior Indiana Master Naturalists. What a great bus/classroom/exploration! The bus in and of itself is a whole fascinating topic. I especially liked figuring out how they stored, organized, and prepared everything for a seamless learning experience, but that's the teacher geek in me. ;-)

Matt McQueen is the dedicated teacher onboard the bus. He had a helper when we visited, a 6th grade teacher. I am very impressed by the teaching of both. They are great with the children and know how to use science inquiry to it's fullest! 

There are TV screens with each table, white board spaces, and additional details, like places for holding the mouse or hanging a replica of the earth from the ceiling!

After some work on the bus, we ventured inside the ETHOS Science Center for a snack. Okay, I really like to call these edible crafts, but it was also a learning experience. Using as many senses as possible to learn helps us internalize the topic, especially when talking about moons. I've seen this idea on Pinterest, of using Oreos to make phases of the moon. It's an interactive way of learning the phases and tasty as well! 

We also explored a few things in the Science Center, such as the insects and other animals. 

Seriously, the science club geek in me liked watching how all of this was stored and organized for the best learning experience. I took pictures just of the organization to help me remember. All supplies needed were easily accessible. Materials were in kits, with additional helps on a tray under the bucket. 

The children had a great time playing with an interactive program that simulates gravity and different orbits. 

They also made a Tinkertoy (and other items) model of how the earth revolves around the sun. I saw the "directions" before as I poked around at things, yet I liked how Matt had them explore the materials and try to come up with their own version first. It didn't take too long, yet engaged the minds from the beginning of the activity. 

Guides on the side were there to help, but not to do it for them or tell them how it was to be done. GREAT questions were asked to help the children discover on their own. 

What a cool model!

Later, they were given a hand held mini iPad to investigate further information about astronomy. They worked in their "notebooks" and recorded information gathered. I liked the concept of the notebooks, with the key points being addressed and partial activities set up to help students be a part of the learning process. Excellent teaching, excellent learning!