by Trevor Webster
With the first week coming to a close, the Astronomy class is finishing up multiple projects started earlier this week. One project is a telescope each student made by hand, and another is a constellation project that they will present to each other when everyone is finished. The telescope has taken many days to complete. Starting from the ground up, students used planks of wood and PVC pipes to make a finished product that they will use in the following weeks and take home at the end of camp. For the constellation project, each student was assigned two constellations at random and given the task of informing the class of the significance of each constellation, such as its importance in past cultures or the origin story of how it came to be.
Not only have the students been taking part in these great projects, but they have also been learning multiple concepts about space itself. One interesting phenomenon studied was the Doppler Effect, which explains why the pitch of a sound changes due to the position of both the listener and the sound source, and which can help us determine that our universe is expanding outwards. The class also took two trips to the university planetarium, where interactive experiences allowed the students to see how the universe works in different ways and to get different perspectives on special phenomena, such as eclipses.
With all this learning in the first week, the students are ready to rocket into next week and continue their great space exploration.