Just this week, a student came to me and said that he recently went outside one night to look at the moon. Woohoo! Day after day I get the nagging feeling of a growing disconnect between my students and the natural world and I’m hoping to devote class time to reconnect their lives to the world around them. Friday, we looked at the data students posted during the past two months.
Students predicted the next new moon and many began counting and looking for patterns. A few were dead on while others did not really know what was meant by a “new moon”.
I also asked them to note any trends that they see in the sunrise and sunset data.
Students picked up that we’re losing day light but were surprised when I asked whether light is being equally lost from the morning and night or if more is being lost in one or the other. The prediction was to note when students thought the shortest day of the year would fall. It was now my turn to be surprised at the range of data. All sorts of days were proposed from mid-October to December 31.Students are going to hold onto their predictions for a while to wait and see. As I write this, I’m considering placing a poll beside the data (located outside of my classroom) to get students voting on the shortest day.
Students typically seem to need a lot of work reading and interacting with graphical representation of data. Good questions were generated as students looked over the data and I hope an important outcome is more students take a gander outside to check on the moon before going to bed.