Yesterday’s Launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Brings Back Memories of Apollo 11

 Posted by DrJeff on June 19th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

 

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is about to become the second human being to walk on the Moon. This picture was taken by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, July 20, 1969.

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is about to become the second human being to walk on the Moon. This picture was taken by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, July 20, 1969.


This post is a Teachable Moment in the News.

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.


Yesterday (Thursday, June 18) the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and will reach the Moon next Tuesday, June 23. LRO is a robotic mission that will pave the way for humans to return to the lunar surface. It’s also a timely teachable moment in the news for another reason—

 

July 20th is coming. I’m waiting for the emotions to wash over me again. It will be the 40th anniversary of the first human footprints on another world, and I lived it.

 

I remember it so vividly. It was July 16, 1969. At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Apollo 11—a rocket as tall as a 36-story building—blasted off with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins aboard. The command module Columbia—with barely enough room for the three crew seats—was their home for the 3-day trip to the Moon, and by July 19th they were in orbit.

 

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Weekly Challenge 3: What Can You Do With a Humongous Piece of Xerox Paper?

 Posted by DrJeff on June 15th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Untitled-1

This post is a Dr. Jeff’s Weekly Challenge and a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism.

 

Math is the language of nature. If you yearn to know

how she operates, you must speak her language.

 

Before getting to the awesome challenge this week, I need to get something off my chest. It’s something very relevant to the challenge, but you might not think so at first—

 

My first language is English. I have very strong beliefs about how English should be taught in schools. I guess I’m a traditionalist. I also think that my views apply to how any language should be taught in schools around the world.

 

I think English belongs in English class. Period. You want to speak and read and write English, well do it in an English class. It doesn’t belong in a history class, or a science class, or for that matter a class on economics, art, sociology, psychology, or the law. Let’s keep English where it belongs. It’s just a language. So no English in those other classes. Just sit there and learn the concepts, nuances, big ideas, and emotional content of those subjects through …. osmosis. Think your thoughts toward other members of the class and share brain waves. And please, please … when you do this—DO NOT THINK YOUR THOUGHTS IN ENGLISH!

 

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My Really Long Drive with Jordi

 Posted by DrJeff on June 6th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

sun-earth-test1

 

This post is a Driving with Jordi, and a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism.


“Daddy, how long would it take to drive around the Sun?”


So there we were on the Washington, DC, beltway heading for his elementary school. We were cruising at 60 mph—yes, on the beltway, I know!! (© Craig Ferguson, CBS).  Jordi said, “daddy, how far has this car gone since you and mommy got it?” I looked down at the odometer and read 249,000 and some odd miles. Cool! The ’95 Camry was doing just fine. Besides getting close to the 250,000-mile mark, the space guy in me knew that the Earth’s circumference is about 24,900 miles. “Jordi! This car could just have gone around the entire planet Earth 10 times!” He wasn’t expecting that answer. He thought that was … way cool. Cars aren’t supposed to be able to go around an entire planet are they?


But before we get to the rest of the story, first a detour at a Jeffism


Science Education is about conceptual understanding

at an emotional level.


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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