Shelley Dolan and I are at Stanley Clark School with the 1st ever ASTRO WEEK in Mrs. Haven’s 2nd grade science class!
Today the 2nd graders, who all happily displayed their Name-tags that said “Junior Astrophysicist” underneath, were VERY eager to learn!
Shelley gave a quick powerpoint show to explain how the Earth is a magnet, what the Van Allen Belts are, and how the Aurora are created!
The 2nd graders were really quick to understand “charged particles” via the relationship to getting SHOCKED due to static electricity! Once they understood how there are these charged particles around, they learned how space charged particles get trapped in Earth’s magnetic fields and make the Aurora in Earth’s atmosphere.
(We related these invisible magents field lines to gravity as something that we FEEL, but can’t SEE… they are really good with gravity so far!)
Then it was time to play with magnets!
Shelley and I created this Magnet Constellation Game, where each pair of students had a pair of Chirping Magnets.
The teams competed at trying to put their magnets down on the constellation map without attracting the other team’s magnets.
In the end, the game went from being competitive to everyone in the group taking turns trying to put their magnets down before all the magnets “buzzed” together.
The 2nd graders greatly surprised me with their eagerness to add information to our discussion, every other minute we’d have a hand fly up and one of the students would share a semi-related story with the class. Normally, this would have delayed the class teaching time, but I’ve learned in my experience with trying to teach science, that the BEST way to get a student to really understand what science topic you’re tackling is to relate it to their own lives/experiences.
For example, when the students were trying to understand how opposite sides of the magnet attract, I asked if anyone had a brother or sister that they “JUST CAN’T STAND!”, and hands flew up all over the classroom, and I made the relationship that similar magnetic poles are like siblings that don’t get along because they’re too alike! They all seemed to like that comparison.
It was a great day in 2nd grade, tomorrow we are going to learn about the Moon, get to eat some Oreos to show the phases of the Moon, and discuss the unique traits of the rest of the Planets!
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