Laralee and I just got back from our second-grade science enrichment class. We finished our unit on the solar system with an activity where we paced off a scale-model solar system (with appropriately scaled planets too), and then had a presentation via laptop and projector where I ran Celestia and took the kids whizzing around the planets.
It was a blast, because the kids are so excited about this stuff. They kept oohing and ahhing as we talked about things like Quaoar and Sedna, how far Pluto really is from Earth, and even the volcanoes and sulfur lakes on Jupiter’s moon Io. But the real fun was with Celestia as we zoomed over to Saturn and watched a hundred moons whiz around it in one-million-times normal time, or rode Halley’s comet as it whipped around the sun every 76 years. The kids were literally yelling about how cool it was, and one of them said he was getting sick to his stomach on the Halley’s comet ride.
Not only do I enjoy spouting all of my crazy scientific knowledge, but it’s such fun to see a group of second-graders who are enthralled and excited about it.
They’ll really like it when we mess with lasers. And chemical reactions. And rocket propulsion. I can’t wait.