Our Earth in Space – the Nature of Our Existence

 Posted by DrJeff on May 28th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

suna

I started this blog to share exciting stories of exploration with those that teach the next generation—parents and teachers. I hope it can help you inspire our children. More generally, these stories are for anyone who gets joy from learning, and aspires to know.

 

If you really want to get a sense of where I”m coming from, read my Resource Page The Nature of Our Existence. I hope it moves you. And if it does, share it by leaving a comment on the bottom of the page.

 

It’s a story—a philosophy—reflecting programs developed and delivered over 19 years at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and across the nation—to families, teachers, and the public.

 

I’d like to see this blog continue for quite a long time. I’ve got lots to share. But that requires us to build an audience. So please let parents, teachers, and friends know about this blog so we can make a difference together. Send out a tweet or some emails!

 

You might also like to read other Resource Pages in the section called Dr. Jeff on Stuff (see the column at right.) And subscribe for e-mail notification to stay up-to-date with new Posts.

 

To all those teachers finishing their year and feeling exhausted, you could probably use a reaffirmation right now about why you went into teaching! I think reading The Nature of Our Existence might help. It’s a good way to start your summer!

—Dr. Jeff

 

 

Weekly Challenge 1: A Pound of Ants and the Capabilities of Intelligent Biomass

 Posted by DrJeff on May 26th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

antscrowd3

This post is a Dr. Jeff’s Weekly Challenge and a Driving with Jordi.

A day late because of Memorial Day in the U.S.

 

I’m proud to post my first Driving with Jordi, so here we go!

 

Two weeks ago I was driving Jordi to school. We started down the road with 5 minutes of quiet contemplation, both of us just getting our heads wrapped around the new day, me with a cup of coffee in hand. Then, out of the blue came the question, “daddy, how many ants in a pound of ants?” I had to ask, “where did that come from?” So he explained that the day before he was hanging out in our big vegetable garden (he loves doing that), picked up a rock, and found lots of ants scurrying for cover. They were really small, and there were lots and lots of them. So he came up with this question to help him get a sense of their scale relative to a familiar ‘ruler’. He picked a pound. He came to me for the answer. I had no clue. So I decided to post this as part of this week’s challenge (see below.) You’ll be happy to know that I now have the answer and have already shared it with Jordi. But he promised not to tell.

 

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Apples and You

 Posted by DrJeff on May 21st, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

apple-earth

This post is a Jeffism’ by Dr. Jeff and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.


Last time on the blog, I used astronaut John Grunsfeld’s recent Business Trip to the Hubble Space Telescope to show you that the perceived limitless ocean of air under which we live is really not limitless. At an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface, you’re effectively at the top of the atmosphere (since 99.99% of it is beneath you.) So let’s really put this in perspective with a Dr. Jeff Jeffism:

Earth’s atmosphere compared to Earth is thinner than

the skin of an apple compared to an apple.

I truly hope that makes an impression on you. Read it again and let it sink in. Then take a moment and reflect on what you’re thinking.

Now … for the rest of the story—


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The Business Trip

 Posted by DrJeff on May 19th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News by Dr. Jeff.

 

This was originally posted during the flight of Shuttle Atlantis, STS-125, May 11-24, 2009. But it can be used as a Teachable Moment for any Shuttle flight, or used at any time with the International Space Station.

 

Every so often I’ve got to tell my son Jordi that I need to go away on a business trip. His first question is always, “Daddy, where are you going?” So I pull out a map or a globe, talk about what I’m going to do when I get there, and make it a teachable moment. I can teach him some geography, and in a way where he’s personally connected to the place.

 

So, I have to wonder if astrophysicist John Grunsfeld has little kids. If so, he might have recently said, “kids, daddy has to go away on a business trip for a couple of weeks.” I would have liked to be the fly on the wall when they said “where daddy?”

 

John and his friends (Michael, Michael, Gregory, Megan, Scott, and Andrew) are definitely on a grueling business trip, but I’d rather go with them than to Disney World. Right now they’re in a spiffy RV (with really expensive accommodations) moving about 4.5 MILES PER SECOND (7 km/sec) relative to you. Think about that speed for a moment.

 

They’re aboard space shuttle Atlantis, relaxing after having just repaired a national treasure–the Hubble Space Telescope. They are in OUTER SPACE (say this slowly and with an echo for effect.) So, let’s use his business trip as a teachable moment. Where is … OUTER SPACE?

 

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Hello world!

 Posted by DrJeff on May 14th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 


Blog Launch: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

-Dr. Jeff

 

Wait! Before you leave, read About this Blog and explore a few of the Resource Pages in the right column. While Blog posts begin on Tuesday May 19, the library of Resource Pages is now finished and the pages are calling out ‘read me’.

 

On the Resource Pages you’ll find powerful essays on, e.g., the nature of our existence in the greater universe, the art of teaching, and our heritage as a species of explorers through stories from the National Air and Space Museum—the most visited museum on the planet. You’ll also find moving quotes on science, science education, human exploration, and learning. And on the Cool Resouces pages, I’ve suggested how teachers can put these essays to work with their students, and how parents can do the same with their own children. (FYI—my favorite page is the Nature of Our Existence, but The Power of Models is a close second.)

 

If you like what you see, think about subscribing for e-mail notification of new posts—even register with your own account! You’re also invited to become a fan on the Blog’s Twitter or Facebook page to hear about Posts I’m working on, and to suggest new posts to me and the fans. I’ll be reading along!

 

And please share this Blog with teachers and parents you know! We want this Blog to make a difference in children’s lives—how they view their world and themselves—and to provide powerful tools in science education for both teacher and parent.

 

Dr. Jeff (again)