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Viewing Sunspots with Cedars Montessori Upper Elementary

kalen and piper with eclipse viewing glasses and the sun funnel

I had the chance to substitute last week at my children’s school and just couldn’t help but bring my sun funnel. We looked at sunspots and learned about what causes the aurora borealis and the effects that CME’s have on our planet. It was so fun to be back at it again since my time off this past year.  Needless to say, I’m inspired to get back into teaching about any spacey =)  This photo shows my sun funnel and the transit of Venus back in 2012.

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Science is spiritual

 

The “Cosmos” series with host Neil deGrasse Tyson has quickly become much anticipated in our home. We watched the second episode of “Cosmos” with our 7 year old, 5 year old and 1 week old all cuddled up on couch cushions in front of the TV. While the movie “Frozen” has been the main buzz around our home lately with the girls twirling and singing the show tunes, a quiet calm comes over my 7 year old when she asks me, “when is ‘Cosmics’ coming on TV again Mom? I can’t wait for that… space and time! I love that stuff!”

 

The beauty in her anticipation of the show confirms our natural human curiosity and necessity to understand our place in the universe.  I have found in my many years of teaching a wide range of ages that almost everyone is memorized or awe-inspired by the beauty of the cosmos.  We are all natural-born scientists, living together on this planet Earth, or “the pale blue dot” according to Carl Sagan, in search of answers to our questions.  It is our natural state of being.  Just watch a baby or any small child.  She is curious about her world and immediately begins to absorb information from the world around her.  Her human form serves as her scientific tool for understanding the world.  Through her senses of vision, sound, touch, smell, taste and emotion she develops her “absorbent mind”, as Dr. Maria Montessori called it, readily soaking in all the information from her environment. This is our natural human way of existence.  What continues to motivate us on this quest of knowledge as we grow into adults is completely spiritual. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Why are we here? How did all this life around us come about? What is my place in the universe? These are the Big questions that continually motivate us as natural scientists to observe the life around us and search for answers.  Ours is a quest for knowledge. We want to find our place in the universe.

Science was developed as a way to find the fundamental truths of the world around us without misunderstanding them through bias. “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it,” says Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson. Those who criticize science and argue that it is anti-god or atheist are people who misunderstand that searching for the truth is the ultimate spiritual quest. They have forgotten where they came from; the same place we all emanate from, the belly of the cosmos. No one is playing god here.  Instead, we want to know god.  My hope for the new “Cosmos” series is that it sparks conversations about the Big questions and opens closed eyes to the beauty that abounds in our universe and puts us in our respective place within it.  Anyone who is human needs to watch it.

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