You never know what will grab a child’s attention and capture their imagination. When I was little, I remember being fascinated by a jar of bread clips in my grandmother’s kitchen. Every time we’d visit her I’d reach up to that high kitchen shelf, grab that jar and dump the clips all over the floor. They were the coolest thing! All different colors… all shiny and plasticky… I’d sort them and count them out—it was awesome! Woo hoo!
Ahem… well, anyway, these days technology has advanced a bit, and there are all kinds of electronic gadgets and online activities available to amuse and engage the curious youngster. Recently, Pamela sent me this picture of one of CosmoQuest’s younger citizen scientists busily mapping the surface of the Moon.
Excellent! Wanting to know more, I asked the photographer, Cory Schmitz, for a little background. Here’s his story:
My son, Leif, seemed bored one Sunday so I sat him in front of the MoonMappers app and showed him how to do it. He’s a space geek, every time I show him an image I took or something else online, he asks “Can we go there?” and I mostly have to say “No…”, but the MoonMappers app let him interact with moon at least! After a few minutes of tutoring, I let him have at it alone and he was able to do it all by himself. When he thought he finished with an image I would check his work and help him fix some of the craters, but overall he did a great job for a five-year-old!
Wow! Never underestimate the power of parent-child activities–there’s nothing like families doing science together. Who knows where they’ll explore next—Vesta? The Kuiper Belt? We could be looking at a budding planetary scientist here. Perhaps even an astronaut!
Providing youth with opportunities to explore their universe is incredibly important—now more than ever. There are many ways to do it—jump online with CosmoQuest, get outside with a pair of binoculars or a telescope (find a local amateur astronomy group if you don’t have your own equipment), or attend an outreach event in your area (museums, universities, and science centers host many events each year). It’s easy, rewarding, and lots of fun—just ask our Nicole about Dark Skies, Bright Kids.
So, young Leif, welcome to CosmoQuest! We will watch your future progress with considerable interest. 😉 And say… perhaps some day you’ll meet Lunar Child…
By the way, Cory Schmitz helps out with the CosmoQuest online star parties. Thanks, Cory, for sharing your telescope, your story, and these pictures!
And just for the record, I’m not the only one to be fascinated by bread clips. Here’s a timely treat from A Crafty Lady: