Here with another special report from the McDonald Observatory "Age of the Milky Way" teacher continuing education workshop is participant Dan Maloney:
Day 2 Summary – Yesterday was another very informative day for the teacher workshop. The group was led by our mentor teacher Jody through several classroom activities. The first was on the life cycle of different stars, and the second was on light spectrum analysis. For the life cycle of stars students blow up different colored balloons to learn what they eventually “explode” into. Students will definitely be surprised by how the death of a star occurs. For the light spectrum activity students examine how different colors of the spectrum change under various conditions. Both activities foster inquiry based learning and are suitable for a wide range of science and astronomy classrooms.
For the second night we have been not able to get in any observing time due to the weather but we are very optimistic that the weather will clear before the end of the workshop. Despite the weather we have been busy learning about white dwarfs and the group has started our preliminary analysis on white dwarfs using the imaging software program called ImageJ.
The group was also treated to a tour of the 82 inch Otto Struve telescope, which was built in 1938. The telescope is engineering masterpiece that is fully functional and serves astronomer in a wide variety of astronomical research. Today we will be touring the Hobby-Eberly telescope. I can’t wait.