Mr. Barge

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All Done…. :(

Well the last 2.4 weeks have been really fun, interesting, and learning filled. Thanks so much to all the scientists for sharing their time with us, particularly Don. It was great getting to pick your brain every morning!

The opportunity to collaborate with other teachers has been wonderful. Even though we teach at different places we share the goal of science education, and thus have a lot to offer each other. Thank you everyone for sharing resources and techniques so freely these past few weeks.

Only a few weeks until we meet back again in class, so enjoy the rest of your summer!

Happy iPading

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Optical Tools Lesson Plan

Here are Word (docx) and PDF copies of my Optical Tools Lesson Plan:

Optical Tools Lesson Plan (docx)

Optical Tools Lesson Plan (PDF)

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Expanding Universe

This morning the teachers were talking about the way that the universe expanding, and what we see as galaxies move away from us. A standard analogy is to think about baking a loaf of bread with raisins. As the bread bakes, and rises, each raisin moves away from each other since the bread expands.

check out http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/ for a more full explanation.

I saw the video below some time ago, I think it helps to see this idea of expansion a little more clearly (you can stop watching at 11:25).

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Asking good questions…

So far I have heard some good questions coming out as we have started looking at all our data together. Why do we see this trend? or Why do astronomers record data in this way rather than that way.

As we learn more and more about what the data means and how to use it, more questions crop up. I have found that this is almost always true. The more and more we learn, we realize that there is so much more to learn.

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Layers

After listening to Vikram Dwarkadas talk about X-ray astronomy, I was thinking about how many layers of science and engineering have to work in tandem to get good data. In Chandra or SDSS or the new JWST there are so many systems that have to all work right. It’s marvelous that we can ( in many cases) get these things to work.

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Monday – July 22

After a week of hearing from amazing astronomers, it’s time to do some research on our own. We learned to interact with data from SDSS.

We became familiar with coordinates (RA, DEC), size measurements (petroRad_r), relative brightness (modelMag_r), and Red Shift (z). In addition we can look at the spectra generated by SDSS to classify the galaxy (or other object types).

With just these few tools we can built a picture of the universe, and how it is shaped. Fascinating.

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Tuesday

Today we heard from Don York, professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago, and the founding director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He spoke with us about the history of astronomy, particularly in the optical wavelengths.

We learned about the anatomy of a telescope, and its development over time.

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The best thing foe me to see was that this “ordinary” man has been able to make such a grand contribution to the field of astronomy. Any of my students, if they wanted to, could apply themselves and make similar contributions.

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Monday

We started the NASA All-Stars today. I met some fantastic and motivated students. Their excitement and enthusiasm gave me tons of energy this morning. (Getting a free iPad helped too!) I have also met some dedicated and motivated teachers today that I am excited to work with.

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