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Description of the Planetary Atmospheres Demo and its Uses, page
AGES IS IT SUITABLE FOR?
The demo adjusts well to a wide range of age groups and educational
9 year olds and above will generally be truly
involved in the story line and discovery of global warming.
It is excellent for middle, high school, and
The presenter should adjust her/his vocabulary and depth of presentation
to fit the age and educational background of the participants.
The physical components provide a novel learning experience to
4 to 8 year olds (k-3rd grades in the U.S.) also
learn and enjoy. Often, their involvement is more playful
-- focusing on the tactile experience, and an introduction to
concepts. The heat of the sun on the planets, the concept
of different atmospheres and what's in them, an introduction to
what global warming is about. Less talk, more time for playing
It works especially well with families -- a multi-generation
experience. The demo encourages teamwork, critical thinking
and the sharing of ideas and knowledge. We want our space
probes to be successful! It's often the kids who bring up
the greenhouse gas effect first. Informed 6 year old girls
sometimes take over as the lead scientist, teaching a group of
adults what they learned in school. When parents
see their kids having a great time learning, asking Mom and Dad,and
Grandma, to join in ... it's hard for adults
to not uncross their arms and get involved too.
The demo is designed to be inclusive and not be intimidating.
It is not a test to show off which person knows the most science
facts ahead of time. Women have often commented:
"If science was taught like this when I was in school, I
wouldn't have hated the experience. I just might have become a
Science centers and museums offer an incredible opportunity for
our communities to share with one another our love of science
and discovery. Many times, this literally has happened among
our visitors: JPL rocket scientists -- who design
real space probes for a living -- have done the demo teamed up
with inner city school kids. Everyone
learned something, and had a blast doing it together.