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4625Planet Rock Song | JMU Space Explorer Camps

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  • Virani, Shanil - viranisn
    Aug 6, 2014
      Hi All,

      July is our area teacher workshop and Space Explorer camps at the John C. Wells Planetarium at JMU and I thought I'd share with all of you some cool links. Our pre- and post- testing of our middle school explorers last year showed that a significant fraction of our participants still struggle with basic solar system facts and the order of the planets.

      At a social function, I met a JMU music professor (David Newman), told him about some of our results, and we began collaborating on a song for this year's camp. It's not only a catchy science song but it also has a strong kinesthetic component that accompanies it. As a physics undergrad, I always remember using the "right-hand rule" when solving E&M problems so if I can get just a couple of kids to remember these moves when writing a test, that is success! Check it out: http://youtu.be/fyKzc1yFQLQ and please share!

      For our residential Space Explorers Camp (rising 7th to 10th graders), the planetarium's fantastic camp councillors (JMU pre-service teachers or physics majors) made a fun music video about the week's activities (to that point in the week). What's neat is they wrote their own lyrics to accompany the music of a popular song! The song is called "Space Camp is so Awesome"! Check it out: http://youtu.be/8CrPTfkuELM

      If you are curious about our camps and want see/learn more, you can find more info via our website (http://www.jmu.edu/planetarium) and find pics on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jmu.planetarium). I have short videos of kids talking about the science they were engaged in at both camps that I will be posting via our Youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/jmuplanetarium).

      This summer we were very fortunate that we had Dr. Jason Kalirai (Project Scientist for JWST and just all-around great guy!) talk about "Searching for Earth 2.0", NASA/Langley Flight Dynamics engineer Jody Davis (part of Curiosity's EDL team) talk about the robotic exploration of Mars, as well as our local meteorologist (WHSV TV-3's Aubrey Urbanowicz) talk about climate vs. weather & the science of meteorology! FUN STUFF! [The latter two are GREAT female role models our budding scientists/engineers!] I'll be presenting this year's pre/post results and analysis at this year's AGU and AAS meetings.

      So if you want to learn more and will be attending either meeting, just let me know!

      best wishes,

      NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador 2013, 2014
      Shanil N. Virani http://csm.jmu.edu/physics/viranisn
      Director, John C. Wells Planetarium
      Department of Physics & Astronomy
      MSC 4502
      James Madison University
      Harrisonburg, VA 22807

      "Our ancestors looked up at the night sky and saw stars. We now look up at the night sky and see planets orbiting those stars. I am convinced that when my grandchildren look up, they will see billions of worlds inhabited by diverse lifeforms."