Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Encouraging awe in nature.

My wife and I went to the bookstore the other night. I love browsing with no topic in mind. I browse technology and fitness and see what pops off the shelf. I was in the science section and I found a great book called the Universe http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0756613647/qid=1132110085/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-8678562-1048066?v=glance&s=books.
It is a huge volume with creative images from the atom to the sun. Numerous shots from the Hubble telescope are featured. I knew the kids would love the astronomy section.
I showed the kids the book the next day. L and T asked me to take it down from the special shelf on 4 separate occasions. We poured over the maps of the stars. There was a section for the November sky in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
"Let's find the North Star." I suggested.
We poured over the book for a moment.
"Ooops!" said L. "We should be looking in the Northern Hemisphere for that."
She was right again. Daddy was on the wrong page. 5.5 years old. The kids really amaze me.
"There is the big dipper and there is the little dipper." I said.
"Wow." said T.
Later that night when I was putting M to bed the older kids were getting into their silly mode. This has been a pattern for the past few nights.
"Guys! Why don't you get your coats on and we will go out and look at the sky? Maybe we can find some constellations."
It was curious that I did not have to repeat that suggestion. The kids sprinted downstairs and had their jackets on in 1 minute. A new family record. M and I were the last ones ready.
We went around the house and shut out all of the lights. That was an exciting project. When the house was in pitch blackness the kids and I headed out back.
"Look! The little dipper!" T exclaimed.
He was right on. "You've got it T!" I encouraged.
M called out: "Moooo."
"Yes, M!" I said. "That is the moon!"
"Where are all the stars?" Asked L.
"It is a little cloudy tonight. We will see some more stars another night. But aren't the ones that we can see beautiful?"
"Yeah." Replied L and T.
I think these expeditions and learning projects build a sense of awe in the kids about nature. Throughout the day we talked about how many stars are in the universe. I think the kids will grow up with a healthy mindset, knowing the true nature of the universe.

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