Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Astronomy Wednesday

This is an usual type of post for this blog, because while it does make use of our Moodle vle, I am not employing it strictly for curriculum delivery. I guess it is the case that all of us in teaching at sometimes find ourselves engagaed in conversation with our students in those extra curricula areas of interest that attract the attention of a group, and for me those conversations tend to centre around the general area of astronomy and spaceflight. I have to say that I have on many occasions found myself hi-jacked in discussions on black-holes, exploding stars and time travel etc etc; I am certain this experience is not exceptional and rarely without real value. It was after having one of those protracted casual chats with a small group of students the other day, during a period of free time, if there is such a thing, that I hit on the idea of starting a casual drop-in lunchtime club, I have named it AstroWed, because we meet on Wednesdays, and today was the first. I had kept the announcement to a single course, six turned up and it went really well. We started with a look at the night sky in February, then moved on to an interactive Flash animation of the solar system and finished with a YouTube video to the music of I think Pink Floyd of the earth being hit by something very big from space. I have naturally set-up a Moodle course and invited discussions, postings and suggestions for future weeks. For now I am going to simply see if awareness spreads by word of mouth. On winding up this lunchtime, I invited suggestions for activities, upon which one of the group enquired would it be possible to design, construct and fly a rocket, well I have done more than a little of that in my time, all very STEM, so literally, please watch this space.


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