Our own Ed Mizzi was invited to talk to a Brownie troop recently about astronomy, and it was a great event!
On Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, Ed visited a school in Waterdown, ON, to present a talk to the 3rd Waterdown Brownies, led by Monique Alderman. Here is his account.
The Brownies (15 in all) began with their traditional pledge and welcomed me to join in their circle. They then gave me a warm welcome and we got started.
I typically begin with a short introduction of myself and how I became interested (fascinated) in Astronomy. Then I move on to a question/answer session, and I was pleasantly surprised at the level of knowledge these 7 and 8 year old girls had attained. They answered almost all of my questions about our Solar System and did so in a polite manner, raising their hands to be recognized and speaking so that everyone could hear.
I then went on with a few slides, showing photos and artists’ impressions of the planets and other objects in our Solar System. The young ladies asked excellent questions as we went through the slides and out of the 15 girls, at least 10 hands were up for every question I asked.
While this was going on, one of the leaders was periodically checking the sky for me, as the evening was not looking promising when I arrived at 6:30 p.m. Just as I was about to start a few activities, she interrupted with a report that the sky was clearing but with a few thin clouds. So we decided to take the opportunity and went outside, where I had set up one of the club’s 8” Dobsonian telescopes. I talked a little about the scope and how to look through the eyepiece and then each girl, and leaders, had a look at the waxing Gibbous Moon. There were several oohs and awes and some great questions about what they were seeing. I was so delighted that they had an opportunity to look through a telescope and I think they were as well.
When we returned to the gymnasium, we only had about 20 minutes left, so I played some competitive worksheet games with them and gave caramels and mini chocolate bars (peanut-free of course) as prizes. The girls were very cooperative and seemed to enjoy the challenges presented by the games. Of course, I wanted to do so much more with them, but time ran out.
They recited their special thank you chant for me and presented me with 2 boxes of yummy Girl Guide cookies. As I always do after these presentations, I felt like a million dollars. It is very gratifying and rewarding to know that I have shared a little of my knowledge with people, especially children; and, to tell the truth, I think that I get more out of these sessions than the audiences do?!!