Letters From Children

By Ed Ting Updated 12/14/06

Iíve been doing astronomy presentations for children for over ten years now. Most of those presentations have been arranged through my local club, the New Hampshire Astronomical Society. Iíll take time off from work and go into local schools to talk to the kids about astronomy and telescopes. Weather permitting, the club will host a public star party at the school that evening. Itís a big hit for kids and parents alike. Many teachers and parents have told us that they wished someone had done this for them when they were younger. Speaking at Bow Elementary School, Bow, NH, 3/7/06 Over time, Iíve gotten hundreds of Thank You cards and letters. I keep them in a cardboard box; theyíre fun to look at on rainy days. Hereís a sample of some of them:
I try to make sure kids know the differences between telescope types. Some are viewed through the back, and some through the side of the front. Hereís one kid who got it right. Itís a drawing of my 6Ē Dob. The constellation to the left is Perseus (we also spent time talking about how to find the Double Cluster.) This is a card from a 4th grader.
From a 3rd grader in Merrimack, NH. Our club's non-profit status prevents us from accepting this, but it's a nice idea!
A subtle compliment from a 3rd grader in Newton, Mass.
On this evening, Saturn was a huge hit. A few days later, I got this. A card with a pop-up inside!
One of my favorite cards. The teacher told me before my talk that the kids did not know the order of the planets. It's nicely a done card.
Hmmm....If I ever get married, Iíll be sure to show this to her.
From a 3rd grader in Framingham, Mass. I made a comment that Saturn would float if you could find a tub big enough. Hereís Saturn taking a bath. Note that he hung up his rings before getting in the tub!
Sidebar: Want to get involved? Teaching kids and showing them the night sky can be a rewarding experience. If youíve got some knowledge, donít be shy Ė share it! The easiest way to do this is through your local astronomy club. Most clubs already have public observing programs. But if yours doesnít, start one! Put a link on your clubís web site to get leads. Go out to local schools, libraries, and Boy Scout/ Girl Scout troops. Many will jump at the chance. Once you start getting some public skywatches on your calendar, assign a club member to coordinate the event. This personís responsibilities include:
  • Setting an agreed time and date for the event
  • Getting directions to the event out to the club members
  • Setting a ďGoĒ or ďNo GoĒ policy
  • Overseeing the event once itís underway If you're doing this through a local club, it's also a good idea check up on your club's insurance policy. With any luck, youíll soon be getting Thank You cards of your own! -Ed
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