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Looking for sunspots with our Solar Eclipse glasses

Overview

The Young Space Explorers program is a joint project sponsored by the Howard County Library, a team of local astronomers, and NASA's IDEAS program. The purpose of the program is encourage an interest in astronomy, space, science, and learning in general in children ages 5 to 8. There are two main efforts involved in the project. The first part of our program is a series of presentations. Various programs have been developed and presented at the library branches by the astronomers. In connection with the presentations, we have developed some new hands-on activities that are likely to be of interest. Currently web pages describing these activities are under development. The second part of our program is the development of several library displays featuring materials on astronomy and space. These will be placed at the branch libraries and will contain a variety of books, tapes, videos, and handouts for children and their parents.

Library Programs

The presentations were a series of hour-long activities held at the various branch libraries. The programs were scheduled by the children's librarian and presented by one of the astronomers.

The following programs were developed and presented at the various branches of the library during the last year. Descriptions of the programs are available through the Library Programs web pages.

  • "Does the Man in the Moon Eat Green Cheese?"

  • "Oh No! The Sun Has Spots!"

  • "Space Rocks, Ice Balls, and Things That Go Splat!"

  • "Light Sabers and Rainbows"

  • "A Stroll Around Mars"
  • Using the telescope to see the craters on the Moon

    Inspecting the craters we made in our flour "Moon"

    Hands-on Activities

    There are not many astronomy or space-related materials or activities available for younger children, and fewer yet highlighting the concepts that we wished to convey. Thus we took on the challenge of developing some new activities and adapting existing activities for our presentations.

    The activities suitable for this age group (6 to 8 yrs) that we developed are described under the Activities web pages. Listed below are some of them.

  • Making craters on the Moon

  • Make a sunspot flip book

  • Recipe for a tiny comet

  • Making scale models of the Earth and Mars

  • Bouncing, bending, and breaking light We also located a number of good sources of information and activities, and will compile a list of them here as well.