Week 4 - Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

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Monday, June 24, 2019


Isabel Bishop

I blinked and this last week was over! Here we are again, my dear blog readers.

At work this week, the waiting game ended Monday afternoon when I finally received a response from the vendors I had reached out to. It turns out, my preferred software just went into closed beta and won’t release until late this year. My second choice offered to include the features we wanted, but at a price tag that was just too much for the scope of this project.

We ended up going with a third option that is actually working out really well. There is a learning curve, which is especially difficult because their website doesn’t have great documentation or resources to figure out how to use the program. After getting used to it, though, I was able to make a great mock-up of my senior thesis exhibition and we’re just about ready to launch.

This week’s social activities were pretty casual up until Saturday. Saturday night we all went out to Astronomy on the Mall, which reminds me a lot of Coe College’s Playground of Science. Astronomy on the Mall, for those of you who don’t know, is a yearly outreach event that the SPS participates in. We all go out to the national mall and do astrophysics demos for a bunch of kids and their parents. It’s a great way to connect with the community and get kids engaged in learning about science!

I worked on science trivia during the event. I have never really done demos before, so I was slightly intimidated at first. After getting used to the crowds and getting my spiel down, it was a breeze. My favorite part was actually the adults who would come by with their kids and participate in trivia. They would give the most fun and creative answers to some of the trivia questions.

One strange thing I noticed is that a lot of the adults were more willing to play then the younger kids. The adults were more confident in their knowledge, so they were more willing to participate. On the other hand, the young kids knew they didn’t know all the answers and were unwilling to even try guessing because they didn’t want to be wrong. That made me a little sad, but I tried to encourage them the best I could.

I tried to ask everyone why they thought their answer was right, and have them think out and articulate their reasoning before giving them the answer. I think this was more productive than just saying they were right or wrong. When you let people talk out their questions, or ask guiding questions, they usually made it to the right answer or acknowledged that they simply didn’t know. At that point, whether they were right or wrong, it became a teaching moment instead of a moment of failure.

 As I take some time to reflect on this week, I'll close off with some words I think are fitting. 

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” - Robert Kiyosaki, 1997

Isabel Bishop