Week 4: Germy third graders and Astronomy

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Friday, June 19, 2015


Connor Day

Our group had a great time with the SPS Executive Council last weekend! On Friday evening, the entire SPS team enjoyed dinner together at Clyde’s in Chinatown with AmanChinatown. Sean (the SPS director) served as the paparazzi for the evening and snagged many amazing and terrible photos of everyone. I spent most of the weekend watching the first season of Mad Men, but I did go for all-you-can-eat sushi with a few of the other interns on Sunday.

Titanic remake

Group at dinner

I was up early Monday morning to help out with an outreach event at a local elementary school. The two SOCK interns led demos of activities they are developing for this year’s SOCK. The theme for the kit is sound and acoustics, so we did activities with things like Boomwhackers, cup/string telephones, and those whirly tubes that create higher pitches the faster you spin them. I was in charge of the whirly tube demo Whirly tubeand helped Shauna with the cup-related demos. I was impressed at how easily the kids picked up on the physics concepts we explained. After the event, the group went to lunch at Ted’s Bulletin near the Capitol. Everyone enjoyed the food there; I had one of the best reubens of my life and my first peanut butter jelly shake! Unfortunately, I woke up with a terrible sore throat the next morning and have been a bit sick all week, likely thanks to the third graders at the event...


 The history team continues to systematically improve the teaching guides. This week, I completed edits on a lesson plan on an APS monthly feature called the “Woman Physicist of the Month” which has honored over 40 women impacting physics today, some of whom I have even met personally. I have now taken up a larger project to combine lessons called “Case Studies of Female Astronomers” into a role-playing activity in which students interact as these astronomers, many of whom did not exist during the same time periods. The lesson utilizes oral history interviews of women including Vera Rubin and Henrietta Swope that are provided on the Center for History website. (You should go check them out!) It’s been a lot of fun to read through some of them this week and see these astronomers speak so candidly about their lives and work. Their personalities really shine through!

We also had a preliminary meeting with one of the archivists here at AIP to explore the archives a bit more. Brean and I are planning to choose some items relevant to our work to show the rest of the SPS interns when they come for a tour of the ACP. This evening, we are headed to an event called Astronomy on the Mall where we will check out some telescopes and astronomy demos on the National Mall. This weekend, I am headed up to Maryland to visit my family and kick off a week of celebrations for my birthday on the 24th!

Connor Day