(July 24-August 4, 2006)
Summary of/Reactions to Day 2:
"THE COSMOLOGY OF SPACE" and
"EXPERIMENTS WITH MICROWAVES"
with Liz ("heavy sister") McCormack
Powers of Ten
Key (Philosophical) Points that emerged from talking w/ Liz:
Key Points that emerged from your reflecting afterwards
- there is no center (to the universe)
Joanna Russ, "Aesthetics," Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism, ed. Robyn Warhol & Diane Price Herndl, Rutgers U Press, 1997.
There used to be an odd, popular, and erroneous idea that the sun revolved around the earth. This has been replaced by an even odder, equally popular, and equally erroneous idea that the earth goes around the sun. In fact, the moon and the earth revolve around a common center, and this commonly-centered pair revolves w/ the sun around another common center, except that you must figure in all the solar planets here, so things get complicated. Then there is the motion of the solar system w/ regard to a great many other objects, e.g., the galaxy, and if at this point you ask what does the motion of the earth really look like from the center of the entire universe, say...the only answer is:
that is doesn't,
Because there isn't.
what does this mean for our attempts to "locate" or "center" our knowledge...?
- The Key to the Universe
- maps are collaborative: "share the map!"
- a map is only useful if you know where you are
- space itself is expanding (rather than objects expanding in space;
think/make: poppy seed bread...)
- 70% of the universe is mysterious "dark" energy
- "the visibility limit" is how far back we can look,
because of the age of the universe
- being educated is being on the boundary of knowledge:
it means walking out knowing that not everything is known
- on the connections between the "universal" and the "local,"
- between Liz's presentations and possible applications in your classrooms,
on the advantages of having your students go exploring,
to gather data on a "real" (i.e. as-yet-unanswered) question,
vs. having them search out multiple ways of finding a "right" answer:
How much, indeed?
- Mingh: the concept of microwaves is a bit too far removed from reality for my students.
- Deb: There are ... a number of concepts that don't ground easily in kid's personal experiences...it is always difficult to help them wrap their minds around really big numbers. I'd like to continue to explore how to balance the "right" answers with the open ended and how to help them integrate and relate the big concepts to their lives.
- Dalia: I would work backwards from Liz in that I would start with the local and then expand out to talk about the galaxies
- Jack: The radiating light that arrives on our planet, warming it, may have a connection to the microwaves that we use to heat our food.
- Regina: The unit of cosmololgy is not truly appropriate for the Lifeskills. However I can adapt the movement and interactions of objects in space to how people interact (maybe).
- Marita: We certainly did get a sense of our place in the tremendous cosmos with today's presentation....today's activities...was more frustrating for me because it left me with a lot of unanswered questions.
- Carol: I might allow the students to select their own group materials to test/research....in light of our lunchtime dialogue today regarding how disconnected our students often are from "norm" reality. What finer activity than to have them discover where they are in relation to the universe (size,space,other worlds/life forms (ha)etc. Again I find it most comfortable to be given some limited direction as I am then not left to "guess" what might be expected of me. Free play/exploration is wonderful under the "right"conditions;ie termination of standards/benchmarks.How much free play can we allot during any one instructional period?
"Computing, Networking and Space"--
J.D. Doughtery, Haverford College Computer Science