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Elementary Science Education

# Bernard Nebel

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 39 total)
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• in reply to: Tracking the moon #7496

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

Thank you very much “Ladybute”. I will look forward to seeing your review.

Unnecessary now, but I think my previous explanations were not the best. Here is another attempt that may help others.

In addition to the purpose of this lesson being to gain an observational picture of the moon orbiting the Earth, consider it as an exercise in modeling. You are sitting looking at the sky and noting the position and phase of the moon on successive evenings. How will you record your observations? One way would be to record the compass direction to the moon and measure its angle above the horizon each evening, but this requires exacting work.

Instead, I suggest modeling the situation. Beside you on the table is a model of you, yourself, observing the sky. You are represented by a pea. A half circle of poster board placed on edge around the pea represents the half of the sky that you see to the south. Place it such that the right hand edge is to the west, the depth of the curve, south, and the left hand edge, east. At the bottom of your poster, you may draw in whatever features exits along the horizon line. Now, the only task is take your real-life, nightly observations of the position and phase of the moon and transfer them to the model. For example, your real-life observation of the new moon will be a thin crescent close to the horizon in the west. On the model, this will be a thin crescent in the lower right (west) corner of the poster.

Please post how it goes, or if there are problems.

in reply to: Tracking the moon #7494

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

Sorry for my misunderstanding of your question. The poster board should not be cut or creased in any way. I intend simply that the whole sheet of poster board be curved to half round and set on edge.

This is most easily accomplished by fastening one end of a strip of scotch tape to the top edge, bringing the top edge up over so that the paper is curved to make a half round, then fastening the other end of the tape to the bottom edge so that the poster board is held in the half round shape. Then, just set it on edge and you are ready to go.

The poster board on edge obviously does not lend itself to drawing a pictures of the moon on it. It only serves to make a record of the position of the moon relative to the horizon. You can mark these positions as they are observed with a “Sharpie” and make drawing of the moon showing its phase separately. Finally, add the phases to the respective positions make on the poster.

Do ask further if you need to.
If anyone has done this and made a video of it, please post it.

Thank you very much for your kind words regarding BFSU. May I ask that you post them as a review on Amazon if you have not already done so. Please mention the support of this group in your review.
Bernie Nebel.

in reply to: Tracking the moon #7491

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster
in reply to: Tracking the moon #7490

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

The poster paper curved into a semicircle is to represent the southern half of the sky, overhead to the ground; the right hand edge the western sky, the left hand edge the eastern sky. You, the observer, are a “pea” located on the ground in the “center” between the west and east edges. Then it is a matter of transferring your real-life observation of the moon to the paper as would be seen by the “pea.”

Starting with the new moon, you (in real life) will see the moon as a narrow crescent in the west going down soon after the sun. Translating this to the “pea” observer, you will draw the crescent moon near the bottom, right hand edge (west) of the poster paper. As you make observations at the same time on successive nights you will see the moon progressively more filled out, higher in the sky, and more to the south. Transferring this to the paper, drawings of the moon will progress from the location of the crescent moon toward the top center. This high point (half lit moon) will be reached 7 days after the new moon. Continuing on, by the end of the second week, (14 days, after the new moon) you will be see a full moon rising in the east and you will depict this in the lower left (east) of your poster page.

It is most important in this exercise to make observations at the same time each evening. The same time each evening will catch the Earth in the same (approximate) position in its rotation on its axis and observations of the moon will be a clear picture of its orbiting the Earth. Otherwise the two movements will create a very confusing picture.

This time of year, overlapping the equinox, is the best time of year to be doing this exercise because the sun will be setting exactly west. The best time of day to make your observations will be between 6:00 and 7:00 pm just as the sun is setting. This will enable kids to more readily see the relative positions of the sun and the moon.

I hope this clarifies the situation for you, Ladybute. If there are further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to hear how it goes. Likewise, I would love to hear from others.

Bernie Nebel

#7263

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

The Brock microscope is the one microscope that I DO NOT recommend. Focusing is very tricky. Then, when you wish to go from scanning to higher power you must disassemble, screw in the higher power lens, and refocus. Refocusing under the higher power is almost impossible.

Therefore, go with the three-lens, par focal, standard student scope, an example of which may be seen at
https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-M150C-I-40X-1000X-Biological-Microscope/dp/B00AM5XB5O/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1538751948&sr=8-3&keywords=microscope

They are actually less expensive than the Brock.

in reply to: Weightlessness during space travel? #7247

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

That’s a good question. I’ve had to think about it too. In answer, I changed the question to, “What do you need to feel gravity, i.e., have a feeling of weight?” My reasoning: You need to be on a platform (something to stand or sit on) that is holding its position within a gravitational field. An airplane is holding its up/down position within the earth’s gravitational field, forward motion notwithstanding. Therefore, aboard the airplane you experience gravity much as you do on earth. Either that or you must be accelerating or decelerating so you feel the inertial force, which is indistinguishable from gravity.

Now, assume you have blasted off on a straight line mission to Mars. After gaining required speed, engines have been turned off; hence, you are neither accelerating nor decelerating so you feel no force from that. Nor is your rocket ship holding a position within a gravitational field. It may be traveling at great speed in a straight line, but it is not moving or holding a position counter to any gravitational field. Therefore, despite its straight line of travel, it and you in it are in a state of free fall within whatever gravitational field(s) are present. Therefore, you would feel weightless. Please ask further or give an alternative argument.

in reply to: Determining Latitude D-18 #7239

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

The following video, which shows diagrams, provides an excellent demonstration of how latitude is determined from the North Star:

Knowing that the sun, at the spring and fall equinox and at high noon (the sun at its zenith) will be 90 degrees exactly above the equator, you can do the same thing with reference to the sun. Of course, in this case, you have to subtract your measured angle from 90 degrees because the equator is designated as zero degrees latitude. By making proper adjustments, this process can be used for determining latitude at other times of the year and the day. Mariners had and still have tables for making those adjustments.

in reply to: Determining Latitude D-18 #7238

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

The following video, which shows diagrams, provides an excellent demonstration of how latitude is determined from the North Star:

Knowing that the sun, at the spring and fall equinox and at high noon (the sun at its zenith) will be 90 degrees exactly above the equator, you can do the same thing with reference to the sun. Of course, in this case, you have to subtract your measured angle from 90 degrees because the equator is designated as zero degrees latitude. By making proper adjustments, this process can be used for determining latitude at other times of the year and the day. Mariners had and still have tables for making those adjustments.

in reply to: Reference Books #7161

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

“My children tend to forget…” Your children are not unique in this, nor is it just children. We all forget things that are not brought back and refreshed now and again. Call it review, but that review does not need to be from a book. In fact there is a better way.

The whole objective of science is not to learn a bunch of facts; it is to become able to look at the real world, both natural and human-made aspects, and gain understanding as to why things are as they are and happen the way they happen. For example, suppose kids have learned about inertia (Lesson C-5). The best way to review this is not to read about it again in a book; it is to call it mind in real life situations. Why is important to fasten your seat belt? What is involved in kicking mud from your boots? … a dog shaking water from its fur?

In short, I believe the best sort of review is bring kids to consider things/happenings in the real world and with Q and A bring them to consider the “what” and “why” in terms of their learning (or perhaps formulation of questions for future learning). For ideas in doing this, see the sections in each lesson: “Questions/Discussion/Activities to Review, Reinforce, and Assess Learning” and “To Parents and Others Providing Support”.

I hope others will respond here as well.
Best, Bernie Nebel

in reply to: How did your kids do on Lessons C-1 to C-4? #7101

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

Thanks Peywuei for sharing your experiences with the lessons.

Dr. Nebel is away for the week, but will be interested to read your note when he returns.

Thanks again,

in reply to: Branching out from Science #7065

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

Thank you, Shelly, for you kind words. I have toyed with the idea of writing a math curriculum, but so far, it has gotten no further. You words inspire me that I should give it more thought, but if I do start the finished product will be a couple years down the road. Would you be interested in co-authoring it with me. (Please email me at bnebel@erols.com)

In the meantime, I hope you will consider putting a review of BFSU on Amazon or elsewhere. Bernie Nebel

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

You do have a very smart son. He has caught an apparent contradiction that completely escaped me. The best I can do in way of explanation is to point out that photons are an entirely different sort of “particle”, so different that they should not be considered particles at all. It is better to think of them as fundamental units or just “dots” of light energy.

The key difference is that all particles of matter have mass (a certain weight in the presence of gravity). The more particles of matter that are packed together, the greater the weight. Photons have no mass. Regardless of how many photons (how much light) you shine into a bucket, there is still no weight, and there is no way that you can pack photons together and get a mass with size and shape.

Another and very significant difference between photons and particles with mass is that light (photons) can be easily seen as waves, not particles. A simple activity described in the text explains how to  do this. Even physicists have no way to explaining why/how photons behave as both waves and particles, but it definitely sets them apart from atoms and larger particles of matter.

In conclusion, photons can not be considered as particles in the same sense as particles of matter.

The second part of your post is also significant. Please reread “Students’ Questions and Suggested Responses, Type 5 Questions” (page 19, Vol. I, 2nd ed.)

in reply to: Co-op level question #4362

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

Hi “Theblueanura”,

In response to “I don’t have a way to know what the background knowledge [of my students is], I suggest conducting a brief Q and A regarding a given lesson. Use the list of items under “Practices: Students who demonstrate understanding can:” as a basis for your questioning. Students’ responses will demonstrate their understanding or lack thereof, and it will also expose misconceptions that they may have. This can lead into the lesson itself, or aspects of the lesson that need clarification. If they show full mastery, you can immediately move on the next lesson in the same manner. At worst this will be a significant review.

This does assume that you have familiarized yourself with the lessons and have materials/equipment for teaching/demonstrations at hand to begin addressing gaps that students expose. Utilize the links provided under specific lessons in BFSU community.com.

I confess that I am confused by your implying that all the D lessons involve “year long observational studies”. This is true for lesson D-6 only. All the others can be compressed into a 45 session if you are well prepared with necessary materials at hand. I do hope that you will make more contact with the person you know who does this.

Bernie Nebel

in reply to: Co-op level question #3853

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

If kids have not been exposed to and learned the basic ideas and concepts presented in Volume I, they are a good and necessary starting point for any age regardless of grade. The core idea/concept of any lesson can be presented in a manner that is age appropriate.

Bernie Nebel

in reply to: Living or Biological Clarification #3750

Bernard Nebel
Keymaster

Thank you for your comment and question, “kunchik”. My effort here is to view the world as a child views it and then to help them gain comprehension and understanding as to what they see. They readily see and interact with living/biological things, natural earth things and materials (rocks, air, water), and they also see and interact with all sorts of things and materials that are made/constructed by humans.

The core idea of the lesson, however, is to go beyond the simple categorization and get kids to recognize that anything/everything human-made starts with one or more things/materials from the biological or natural earth categories. Nothing can be made from nothing! (See the discussion portion of the lesson.) This is a basic concept that is foundational to all industry and technology. It is also central to the concepts of conservation, preservation, ecology and other areas.
I welcome further discussion. Bernie Nebel

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