My husband had a wonderful class in college called The Sky which explored naked eye observations of the sky and its machinations. Guess who now knows what a waxing gibbous moon is--yes, that's right, my kids! My husband has been relaying all sorts of sky information to the kids with very clear explanations and drawings on our fabulous giant dry erase board that my husband snagged from work when they were throwing it out.
Actually, we've both been showing the kids all sorts of things now that the board is hanging on the kitchen wall. The kids are also drawing various things up there and it has dramatically changed how we homeschool around here. Who knew such a simple thing could have such a huge effect? And yet, sometimes the right tools make a difference in whatever you're doing. It's there and everyone in this house is now drawn to it.
Last night, my son was looking at the sky with my husband through binoculars and they both saw all sorts of features on the moon. To the east was Jupiter, and then east of that was Uranus. My son is 12... Yes, there are certain jokes that seem to always come up with regard to that particular planet, but we didn't care. He was seeing our universe and understanding it a little bit more.
Today, I saw a story on Huffington Post about a dad and his son who sent a weather balloon into space with an insulated, protective foam wrap around a video recorder and made a film of the balloon ascending 20 miles up into the sky. Inside the foam was an i-phone which acted as a GPS so that they could then retrieve it once the balloon popped and the parachute allowed it to come safely back to earth.
Amazing and fun!
When's the last time you looked up at the sky with wonder and curiosity and interest? You should look up. It's awesome up there! And, if you're 12, it can inspire some hilarity. If you know what I mean...