A couple of times a year I volunteer with some other graduate students to do telescope nights to middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, college students and the occasional adult.
The Light Activity
Designed in collaboration with Anna Rosen, another graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.
This activity involves setting up various arc-lamps that contain single-element gas. The students go to each lamp and look through a diffraction grating and are supposed to draw what they see through the diffraction grating. Once every student has gone to each lamp we given them a list of elements with the real spectrum for each element. Their job is to guess which lamp contained which element.
This activity is aimed towards middle- to early- high school aged students. The goals of activity are to teach students how astronomers infer properties of objects in space from the light we observe, to have them experience a “real” experiment so they have an idea of how the process of science actually works. We target low-income and alternative schools.
The Little Shop of Physics
The Little Shop of Physics is a traveling science museum for K-12 students based out of Colorado State University. While working with them I constructed interactive physics demonstrations to use as teaching tools for the students.