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Ds has found that he loves astrophysics. Or is it cosmology? Or astronomy? Help!


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I apologize in advance for being absolutely ignorant about science. I also apologize for any rambling.

Ds13 is doing the Big History Project (started by Bill Gates and David Christian). He is really enjoying it. It seemed only natural when covering the beginning of universe to watch documentaries/read books about the subject. Ds has never loved science until now. He cannot get enough of Brian Cox, Richard Feynman, Brian Greene and Stephen Hawking. He has yet to watch (and read) Carl Sagan. He will soon be covering evolution through the Big History Project and I know he will love that too. He recently read Magic of Reality and wanted more like it.

So - what to do with this new passion? Because this is only 7th grade, it is an interest-driven science year. So, I am fine not having a textbook. But how do I cover the basics of chemistry and physics under the umbrella of astronomy (or is it considered astrophysics or cosmology or theoretical physics; this all confuses me)? And when we get to evolution, what are some sources for evolutionary biology?

Lately, science has been reading and watching documentaries; he is finishing up a Briefer History of Time and we have Science Matters, Relativity Simply Explained, and a Feynman book ready to go. He wants to end the year with an investigation. Do I even need to fill his head with certain facts about chemistry and physics or do I just let him enjoy this new interest? He is a bright kid and doesn't seem to be having any trouble understanding the new concepts. On the other hand, my head hurts!

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I almost typed out an explanation of the difference between the three terms, but Wikipedia has it covered: ''Generally, either the term "astronomy" or "astrophysics" may be used to refer to this subject.[4][5][6] Based on strict dictionary definitions, "astronomy" refers to "the study of objects and matter outside the Earth's atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties"[7] and "astrophysics" refers to the branch of astronomy dealing with "the behavior, physical properties, and dynamic processes of celestial objects and phenomena".[8] In some cases, as in the introduction of the introductory textbook The Physical Universe by Frank Shu, "astronomy" may be used to describe the qualitative study of the subject, whereas "astrophysics" is used to describe the physics-oriented version of the subject.[9] However, since most modern astronomical research deals with subjects related to physics, modern astronomy could actually be called astrophysics.[4] Few fields, such as astrometry, are purely astronomy rather than also astrophysics. Various departments in which scientists carry out research on this subject may use "astronomy" and "astrophysics," partly depending on whether the department is historically affiliated with a physics department,[5] and many professional astronomers have physics rather than astronomy degrees.[6] One of the leading scientific journals in the field is the European journal named Astronomy and Astrophysics. The leading American journals are The Astrophysical Journal and The Astronomical Journal." Also, '' A related but distinct subject,cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole.[1]''

 

Since your son is in Algebra, a beginning chem course should be fine and is really necessary before trying to learn with any appreciable depth about stars. There are introductory physics courses he could benefit from now, but the vast majority of physics will have to wait until he can use calculus. An introductory astronomy course would likely be especially fun for him, after learning the basic chemistry concepts, which you could cover quite quickly with a motivated student.

 

As to your specific question about whether to try to get some foundational knowledge in there or just to let him revel, it's my opinion that knowing the basics increases the ''wow'', so I'd try to get some in, but if he balks you'll know he's not ready.

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Here's a decent, cheap (if you're willing to go used) textbook that might be of interest. It is aimed at uni students but avoids higher level mathematics.

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Astrobiology-Iain-Gilmour/dp/0521546214/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355943257&sr=1-3&keywords=astrobiology

 

I would probably start reading *until* he finds he needs chemistry knowledge to understand what he's reading, and then cover the chemistry. (given that he's 7th grade)

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'Since your son is in Algebra, a beginning chem course should be fine and is really necessary before trying to learn with any appreciable depth about stars. There are introductory physics courses he could benefit from now, but the vast majority of physics will have to wait until he can use calculus. An introductory astronomy course would likely be especially fun for him, after learning the basic chemistry concepts, which you could cover quite quickly with a motivated student.

 

As to your specific question about whether to try to get some foundational knowledge in there or just to let him revel, it's my opinion that knowing the basics increases the ''wow'', so I'd try to get some in, but if he balks you'll know he's not ready.

 

Thank you so much for copying and pasting the explanation. I am starting to get a grasp. In ds's Big History lesson yesterday, we watched interviews with a cosmologist and an astrophysicist. In simple terms, I began to understand. Cosmologists look at the big picture, while astrophysicists deal with the mathematics. Yes?

 

Would something like Ellen McHenry's The Elements be an appropriate introduction to chemistry? I hear rave reviews, but I am not sure if it is enough for a 13 year old.

 

After talking to ds in-depth about what he is reading and watching, I can confirm that he is really grasping the concepts. He is a sponge, so it's not difficult for him. In addition, he is very motivated.

 

Any other chemistry ideas would be appreciated.

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Here's a decent, cheap (if you're willing to go used) textbook that might be of interest. It is aimed at uni students but avoids higher level mathematics.

http://www.amazon.co...ds=astrobiology

 

I would probably start reading *until* he finds he needs chemistry knowledge to understand what he's reading, and then cover the chemistry. (given that he's 7th grade)

 

Thank you for the link. And the advice. :)

 

I am finding that I could brush-up on chemistry to better understand and appreciate the documentaries we watch together.

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Other ways to keep the interest alive would be videos from Khan Academy, I just noticed today they have a section on cosmology and astronomy. Also DVD series like The Elegant Universe (string theory) as created for the layman. I have the book and it is a more difficult read than what was presented in the DVDs.

 

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything would be a good read. The Illustrated version is really nice.

 

If he's interested in Relativity, Simply Einstein is not hugely difficult. Ds and I read through it together last year, some of the math will stretch your thinking, but it's not outside the realm of understanding for someone with algebra knowledge.

 

Also there are conceptual and algebra based physics books. Conceptual physics by Hewitt is a popular choice. Also College Physics by Knight, Jones, Field is an algebra based book. You can search on the high school board for several conversation regarding these books. There is also the position that prescribes to teaching physics first (either conceptual or algebra based) then moving to chemistry then biology. Again there are some conversations on those on the high school (or even a google search can help).

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ACS has a chemistry program that is excellent, and is free: http://www.middleschoolchemistry.com/ It only lasts a few weeks.

 

Dd did algebra-based physics before she did chemistry, and commented that she could really see why I keep saying that physics should probably come before chemistry -- chemistry made so much more sense to her, and was "a breeze" once she understood the physics. Having a base in both physics and chemistry will really help with biology.

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Other ways to keep the interest alive would be videos from Khan Academy, I just noticed today they have a section on cosmology and astronomy. Also DVD series like The Elegant Universe (string theory) as created for the layman. I have the book and it is a more difficult read than what was presented in the DVDs.

 

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everythingwould be a good read. The Illustrated version is really nice.

 

If he's interested in Relativity, Simply Einstein is not hugely difficult. Ds and I read through it together last year, some of the math will stretch your thinking, but it's not outside the realm of understanding for someone with algebra knowledge.

 

Also there are conceptual and algebra based physics books. Conceptual physics by Hewitt is a popular choice. Also College Physics by Knight, Jones, Field is an algebra based book. You can search on the high school board for several conversation regarding these books. There is also the position that prescribes to teaching physics first (either conceptual or algebra based) then moving to chemistry then biology. Again there are some conversations on those on the high school (or even a google search can help).

 

Thank you for these recommendations. We started out the year learning basic physical science. These would step it up a bit.

 

Ellen McHenry's chem programs are definitely "meaty". Many of the concepts she covers are things I didn't see until high school or even college. Yet she explains them in a way that makes them accessible to young learners.

 

Another great chem resource is The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry.

 

That is great to know!! Thank you!!

 

ACS has a chemistry program that is excellent, and is free: http://www.middleschoolchemistry.com/ It only lasts a few weeks.

 

Dd did algebra-based physics before she did chemistry, and commented that she could really see why I keep saying that physics should probably come before chemistry -- chemistry made so much more sense to her, and was "a breeze" once she understood the physics. Having a base in both physics and chemistry will really help with biology.

 

This looks fabulous, too. And thank you for the advice on science sequence. It makes complete sense to me. I know older ds did the traditional sequence and by the time physics rolled around, he announced, "Ahh! This is what I've been waiting for!"

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Thank you so much for copying and pasting the explanation. I am starting to get a grasp. In ds's Big History lesson yesterday, we watched interviews with a cosmologist and an astrophysicist. In simple terms, I began to understand. Cosmologists look at the big picture, while astrophysicists deal with the mathematics. Yes?

 

Right, that's the basic idea.

 

Would something like Ellen McHenry's The Elements be an appropriate introduction to chemistry? I hear rave reviews, but I am not sure if it is enough for a 13 year old.

 

I haven't used it, but it's what I'm considering using for my own kids' introduction to the concepts. From what I've read, the content should be sufficient for an introduction, but I don't know whether the presentation will seem juvenile to a thirteen year-old. You'll be the best judge of that. The other resources mentioned sound wonderful as well.

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I haven't used it, but it's what I'm considering using for my own kids' introduction to the concepts. From what I've read, the content should be sufficient for an introduction, but I don't know whether the presentation will seem juvenile to a thirteen year-old. You'll be the best judge of that. The other resources mentioned sound wonderful as well.

 

That's what I'm worried about. Thank you!

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Ds has never loved science until now.

 

But how do I cover the basics of chemistry and physics under the umbrella of astronomy?

 

I would not put him in a textbook next year. If this is his first passion in science, you can really use it to your advantage. A passion is such a powerful tool, but it needs to be cultivated and fed to lead to permanent interest. Personally, I would take next 1.5 years and do “physical science†which is an introduction to chemistry, physics, and earth science. This is a standard class for an 8th grader, and insures that the first time he encounters chemistry and physics will not be in high school. I would use his passion for astronomy as a carrot to get him to study the basics in chemistry and physics. He has to have the basics, but if you link each topic to specific astronomical questions, he will have the motivation to push through the more “boring†material in order to answer some key questions in astronomy. He does not need to survey all the different sub-fields within chemistry and physics, but can rather go more in depth with a few sub-fields that are more applicable to astronomy. So more on nuclear chemistry and less on acid/base reactions because you can more easily link nuclear chemistry to astronomy, etc. It is absolutely ok to leave out sub-fields at this stage.

 

With the plan I propose below, I am assuming that he has access to a library or to the internet, and that he has or is willing to develop research skills. I am also assuming that you are willing to forgo testing and instead accept research papers/presentations for assessment purposes. This is important, because I think that you will have some difficulty making tests if he is doing lots of research. You can do it, and I can show you how, but it is kind of a pain in the neck.

 

I agree with the pp, that the cartoon guide to chemistry would be excellent. It is at an appropriately difficult level for a 13-14 year old. I would also use The elements by McHenry to help in the memorizing of the periodic table and trends, but the written material in it a 13 year old could read and understand in about 2 weeks. However, the activities for learning and understanding the trends in the periodic table are unparalleled, IMHO.

 

For physics, I would use the Cartoon guide to Physics and also the TTC lectures on Astronomy if you can afford them. They are very good, and very in depth. But given what you have described, he would like them very much. Finally, I would get to the library and get all the back issues of Scientific American. It has a great article on Cosmology in almost every issue, and they are really really wonderful and difficult and perfect for your son. If they are too difficult to read, I would suggest he read what he can, study the graphs, and get the next issue, and repeat. Eventually, his reading skills will improve. And his interest will push him further in this skill development than a dry textbook that he has no interest in.

 

So the way this plan works is that your son will have 4-5 sub-field within both chemistry and physics to study. He would read his “texts†and study them over a period of a couple of weeks and then he would start his related research question. I have listed quite a few, because I really don't know what he is interested in and how easily the material would be to find. The research questions rely on the knowledge of basic chemistry or physics so will act as a carrot. He learns the basics and then sees how it applies to astronomy. He then does research, reads, studies, draws diagrams, writes a report, makes a poster, makes a presentation, etc to reflect how organic chemistry is found in astronomy or how the study of light is important to physics, etc. I would assume that the difficulty of the astronomical questions I list here would drive him to develop a more advanced understanding of the basics, because he would need it to answer the questions that hopefully would interest him. You may actually find that he checks out chemistry and physics textbooks from the library to help him in his understanding of the basics because he realizes that he does not know enough to answer the questions he wants to answer. There is power in this approach for a motivated student!

 

I'm thinking perhaps 6 weeks for each of the 9 subtopics that I listed. Which would finish this year and his 8th grade year, leaving time for summer and a larger investigation.

 

CHEMISTRY

 

1. Atoms and types of bonding. Trends in the periodic table.

 

Where do you find the different elements? What is the most common elements and why? What is “star dust�

 

Why is water so special? What makes it unusual? Why is it critical for life as we know it?

 

2. Chemical Reactions

 

Sensor technology: How do the probes on Mars test for different chemicals? What assays can it do? What are they looking for chemically on Mars?

 

Mars: Why is mars red? What is the reaction for rust? Is water a necessary thing to make things rust?

 

Venus: It is much hotter than mercury even though further away from the sun because of the green house effect. How does the green house effect work? Why do all the probes to Venus burn up?

 

Titan: How does the high methane atmosphere combined with the energy from Saturn creates cloud patterns observed? With an atmosphere made up of methane (which has a lower density than our atmosphere), what would methane rain sound like on titan? (apparently there was a PhD dissertation done on this topic)

 

3. States of matter

 

The 5 states of matter (including plasma and Bose/Einstein condensates): Where do you find them? What are the extremes. Where do we find the 5 states of matter on earth? When did we realize there were 5 states not just 3?

 

What type of planet can support life? Why?

 

4. Organic chemistry

 

Comets: How do organic molecules form in comets? Why is this significant?

 

5. Nuclear chemistry

 

Stars: Why do suns burn for so long? What are they burning? What are the byproducts?

 

How do supernovas create the heavier elements?

 

The stars as the formed got dirtier over time (different kinds of elements) what can the presence of heavier elements tell you about the age of the star and what happened in its neighbourhood in the last couple of billion years.

 

 

PHYSICS

 

1. Mechanics

 

Given the observed orbit and distance from the sun of Venus, how can you know the mass of the planet?

 

How long will it take to get a probe to Neptune? What assumptions are you making about propulsion limitations and the placement of the planets?

 

Where is our furthest space probe currently located? How did it get there? What do astronomers expect to find past the solar system?

 

How much energy does it take to put a person into stable orbit?

 

What is geocentric orbits of satellites? How does it work?

 

Describe how a space elevator would work.

 

How does gravity keep the moon in orbit around earth? Why do we only see one side of the moon?

 

2. Light

 

What is light? How is it different than chemical matter?

 

How is the age of the universe estimated?

 

What is red shift? How do we use it to study the expansion of the universe.

 

What is gravitation lensing? (Put a small dense object between you and a large object and it acts like a magnifying lens. The gravity well bends light.) How do astronomers use it to study the universe? What are its limitations?

 

What is the chemistry / physics of the aurora borealis?

 

How can you can identify the distance of the sun based upon the red shift of dual hydrogen bands?

 

3. Magnetism

 

What is Solar Wind? And how does the magnetosphere of the planet use dynmoaction to create our planet's magnetic shield?

 

4. Quantum Mechanics and Modern physics

 

At what point does Newtonian physics break down and relativity take over? Why? Research the key scientists in the development of modern physics theories.

 

Why can the fabric of space time expand faster than the speed of light?

 

What is the effect of the gravity well on the nuclear reactions in stars?

 

 

------

 

As for evolutionary biology. I spent 3 months working through Biozone's evolution book http://www.biozone.co.nz/modular.php, with my ds. It is by far the best survey of the field that I have ever seen. It is written for a high school student. (You can buy it for about $12 on amazon). I have also helped with an evolution thread here http://forums.welltr...american walks that has other books listed that people have found useful.

 

Ok, hope that helps! I am off tramping for the next 4 days, so if you have any questions, I will have to answer them when I get back.

 

And just a note, this is not my field of expertise. So if there are any astronomy types out there please feel free to add to or improve upon these questions.

 

Well, that was really fun!!! :hurray:

 

Ruth in NZ

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:svengo: Oh my word, Ruth! Thank you so much. Your plan will work for us! I actually do very little testing. Ds came home full time this year to explore and discover his own passions. I feel that my job is to nurture that and develop the skills needed for high school. If I can develop those skills around his passions during the next two years, then we will both be ecstatic.

 

I love the questions/investigations you have suggested. Ds is highly motivated and capable, so that will make your plan both doable and interesting. In fact, that is how The Big History Project deals with student output. Making connections through research investigations. Your plan will go much deeper, though.

 

I would love to purchase the Teaching Company's Astronomy course, but I don't think it is possible this soon after Christmas. I know many people love Filippenko. Hopefully someday! I will, however, purchase the Cartoon Guides. Ds would enjoy them. Ironically, ds's uncle surprised him with a subscription to Scientific American. I will also get a hold of some back issues.

 

I now plan on starting The Elements next week. It will coincide wonderfully with the next unit in Big History. Evolution follows shortly after, so we can add some of the Evolution suggestions.

 

Ruth, thank you so much for your thoughtful post. It will provide a perfect foundation for his new passion. I am especially glad it was fun for you! :laugh:

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Just wanted to update. We borrowed a bunch of Scientific American issues from the library. I ordered The Elements, which we will start after the holiday break. And, for the exciting news...I bought Understanding Astronomy!!! On the high school board, Colleen shared a 50% off code AND a $10 off code! Here it is for anyone else to enjoy!

 

"priority code 73358 (good til Dec. 28, I think) to take another 50% off, and coupon code P7PB to take another $10 off."

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Midwest Academy of Arts an

Thanks everyone for such great science resources. My  13 yo son is a science fiend, and he has enjoyed many of the things you guys have mentioned. We also loved the following shows

 

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (gotta buy these on Amazon streaming but it was worth it)

Alien Planet (Michio Kaku features heavily in these and we heart Michio) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_Planet

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michio_Kaku

Richard Dawkins Blind Watchmakerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blind_Watchmaker

And any Nova Episode that Neil De Grasse Tyson has done, and we can't wait for his new Cosmos series http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson

 

We also love some of the new graphic non-fictions for middle schoolers, including the new one on Dick Feynman

 and these below--both books are really well done and super fun

http://www.amazon.com/The-Stuff-Life-Graphic-Genetics/dp/0809089475/ref=cm_lmf_tit_26

http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-The-Story-Life-Earth/dp/0809043114/ref=pd_sim_b_1

 

The cartoon Guide to Chemistry is also great, and we supplement this with some awesome web videos called Periodic Videos out of the University of Nottingham. SUPER COOL stuff like watching lithium explode into flames when immersed in water! http://www.periodicvideos.com/

 

But the best thing we do with our science is to get out and learn geology, paleontology, and earth science by hunting for fossils (in approved areas, of course) and digging minerals in quartz mines or anywhere we can get our hands into some cool substrate. Check your local parks and DNR resources to see if there's something in your area. There might even be sites to go metal-detecting for meteorites!

 

Thanks Again, and Rock On! Ann

 

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Well, this all sounds like a much more interesting plan than using the Astronomy text like I was planning. We will have about 14 weeks to focus on astronomy (well, he can continue through the summer ...)

 

I know less than my 12 year old about this stuff. For a while he was watching shows on Netflix (How the Earth was Made, I think) but this could really intrigue him (and maybe even me!).

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I'm on a phone and didn't peer at all the posts, but has anyone suggested looking at the night sky? If you can find an astronomy club nearby, you'd be in luck, as clubs often have open viewing nights. We've been able to look at features using a 20" scope, which lets you see a LOT. Small college planetariums often have public viewing nights too.

 

Your ds might enjoy building a Galileoscope. I think these are still sold. Not great for viewing, but good for understanding how a telescope works.

 

There are loads of computer programs and device apps for astronomy. Stellarium is an excellent free computer software, easy to use. For iPad, Solar Walk, Sky Safari, Satellite Safari, well these are just a few. IMO, astronomy apps are especially wonderful, because astronomy is more abstract/further away than, say, botany, and apps bring it closer, kwim?

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Calling all astro-whatever lovers:  a new class just started on Coursera, Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life.  It is great so far, and seems very approachable for interested middle schoolers!  I'm watching the first module right now and find it really interesting.  Maybe I can convince dd to lean toward astrobiology rather than astrophysics . . . at least then I'd know what she's talking about!!!  :lol:

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  • 1 year later...

Urgh, just when I think I have figured it out, I read something by Ruth and I question everything I have planned.

 

What level of math has your child mastered?  My college freshman is most definitely a physics geek.  He is not majoring in astrophysics b/c employment in astro is extremely limited.  He decided to make astro a minor.  His path was nothing like discussed in this thread. He took physics before chem.  He took astronomy for 3 yrs during high school.  If you want to share his background, I could share how he  approached things.

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Oh. Thank you for your willingness to help!

 

He is almost finished with AoPS Intro to Algebra.

 

He is 10/Gr.4 chronologically, but I would say that he consistently works on about a gr. 7 or 8 level - with the emotions, executive functioning and work ethic of a 10 year old (and that is fine by me.)  He has done 3 or 4 Astronomy courses on Coursera and EdX, as well as How Things Work (Coursera.) He does very well with these, grasps it easily and greatly enjoys it. His knowledge of Astronomy and Physics (rusty) far surpasses mine.

 

I am completely stumped as to what to do with him for science (any sort) for next year. I'm starting to panic, as our homeschool convention is this weekend. (Shipping to Canada is not at all funny.) 

 

Thank you again 8Fill.

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I know this is an old thread, but we found a great documentary on Netflix called Particle Fever about the Hallidron Collider when it was first started a couple of years ago. The physicists have just started it again after a couple year stop. My ds (13 yo) and I really enjoyed it. I think it made more sense to my ds then to me, but it was interesting all the same.

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Urgh, just when I think I have figured it out, I read something by Ruth and I question everything I have planned.

 

Oh Tsutsie, sorry I am mucking with your mind! :tongue_smilie: Really, you need to do what is right for both you as the teacher and for your dc as the student.  I wrote up the plan above for 2 reasons.  1) I was asked (lisabees pm-ed me) and 2) she specifically asked for "how do I cover the basics of chemistry and physics under the umbrella of astronomy." My plan very specifically filled that need.  But 8fill is so right that there are many many successful ways to teach science.  Make a choice and stick with it unless it is clearly failing.

 

Ruth in NZ

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I'm not sure what to recommend exactly bc your ds is younger. I can share what path our ds took, but it may not be helpful.

 

My ds was older when he fell in love with physics. He was 12 or 13. The yr before he took all three of Plato's middle school science courses and read all sorts of books (reading books on various topics from the library or order off Amazon is our typical path until high school level science. He is severely dyslexic and he liked the Plato courses bc so much was audio.)

 

His first physics course was Kinetic Books' Conceptual Physics in 8th grade (he completed AoPS Intermediate Alg that yr.) That course is what made him fall in love with physics. (Lisabees's ds also used it and loved it. ;) )

 

He took chem in 9th as well as his first formal astronomy course: Teaching Co's Understanding the Universe, The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millenium (I bought the instructor's ed new for 99 cents), Cengage Now......online review materials and tests for The Cosmos. He also started purchasing all of TC's physics and astronomy courses. Over the next couple of yrs he watched and re-watched every single one.

 

In 10th he took AP chem and astronomy 2: The Cosmic Perspective: The Solar System along with Online access to Mastering Astronomy.

 

In 11th he took cal physics at the university. He also created an independent study on dark matter and black holes.

 

In 12th he took modern, and physical mechanics 1&2 at the university.

 

He also attended Astronomy Camp and the Summer Science Program. (Both Astronomy Camp and SSP fueled his love for astronomy and research.) Before that he attended Math Zoom. You might check out Math Path or Math Zoom, both accessible to younger kids.)

 

He is currently a freshman at college (though he has jr level status). He is working with one physics professor on his particle research, but he is excited bc it sounds like he might be able to join a 2nd research project on galaxy formation. (His dream project!)

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There are a bunch of living books.  You mentioned Briefer History of Time.  But, there is also the original Brief History of Time.    Much of it is high-level thinking.   You had Feynman on your list, and any/all of his books/lectures would be good.   I know my Astrophysics course didn't involve much math.  Being very young might be an asset for understanding.   I need a bit of alcohol to free my mind enough.   

 

It is such an exciting field.  When I was University one of the fundamental questions of Astrophysics was, "We know the universe is expanding, what will it do in the future? Will it 

a)  Keep expanding forever

b)  Slow down and eventually reach a steady-state

c)  Eventually stop expanding and start contracting and a future Big Crunch.  

 

Then maybe 10 years ago they discovered that the universe is accelerating apart.  That is so mind-blowing.  We know so little, we couldn't even ask the right question.  To have acceleration, there must be a force.  But, what could it be?   It isn't dark matter because they've calculated that there would no room for anything else.  

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OP here!

 

Ds is now in 9th grade and still on the physics path.  Like 8's son, it may not be astrophysics anymore.  Theoretical physics and math, math, math have become his love.

 

The passion kind of took over after I started this thread and I followed his lead.  Using Ruth's (and others') suggestions and his interests, he researched and read and went through TTC's course. 

 

In 8th grade, he took the AP Physics B exam.  This year, he will take both of the C exams, as well as AP Calc BC.  He is also auditing a math course at University of Pennsylvania.

 

For such a young child, I would just follow his lead.  Big History would be a fun supplement.  Books, documentaries, lectures on youtube.  Check your city library and local colleges for talks, lectures.  If you are close to NYC, take him to the World Science Festival.  JOIN AN ASTRONOMY CLUB.  And explore math even more deeply!

 

I am not aware of any summer camps for such a young child. 

 

Best of luck and enjoy learning yourself!

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Thank you Lisabees and 8FillTheHeart. Following and supporting him will be exactly what I will do.

 

He has done amazing thus far - I'm not going to mess with that. 

 

For these kinds of kids, the joy is in the self-discovery.  There is usually not enough time in the day to learn all that they would like! 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm not sure what to recommend exactly bc your ds is younger. I can share what path our ds took, but it may not be helpful.

 

My ds was older when he fell in love with physics. He was 12 or 13. The yr before he took all three of Plato's middle school science courses and read all sorts of books (reading books on various topics from the library or order off Amazon is our typical path until high school level science. He is severely dyslexic and he liked the Plato courses bc so much was audio.)

 

His first physics course was Kinetic Books' Conceptual Physics in 8th grade (he completed AoPS Intermediate Alg that yr.) That course is what made him fall in love with physics. (Lisabees's ds also used it and loved it. ;) )

 

He took chem in 9th as well as his first formal astronomy course: Teaching Co's Understanding the Universe, The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millenium (I bought the instructor's ed new for 99 cents), Cengage Now......online review materials and tests for The Cosmos. He also started purchasing all of TC's physics and astronomy courses. Over the next couple of yrs he watched and re-watched every single one.

 

In 10th he took AP chem and astronomy 2: The Cosmic Perspective: The Solar System along with Online access to Mastering Astronomy.

 

In 11th he took cal physics at the university. He also created an independent study on dark matter and black holes.

 

In 12th he took modern, and physical mechanics 1&2 at the university.

 

He also attended Astronomy Camp and the Summer Science Program. (Both Astronomy Camp and SSP fueled his love for astronomy and research.) Before that he attended Math Zoom. You might check out Math Path or Math Zoom, both accessible to younger kids.)

 

He is currently a freshman at college (though he has jr level status). He is working with one physics professor on his particle research, but he is excited bc it sounds like he might be able to join a 2nd research project on galaxy formation. (His dream project!)

I can't find any info about the cost of the Summer Science Program on their website. Is it a case of if you have to ask you can't afford this program?

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I can't find any info about the cost of the Summer Science Program on their website. Is it a case of if you have to ask you can't afford this program?

No. The info is in the admissions application packet. http://www.summerscience.org/includes/download.php?filename=../downloads/SSP-Application.pdf

 

The cost is not insignificant, BUT they offer a huge amt in need based aid every yr.

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No. The info is in the admissions application packet. http://www.summerscience.org/includes/download.php?filename=../downloads/SSP-Application.pdf

 

The cost is not insignificant, BUT they offer a huge amt in need based aid every yr.

Gulp! Thanks. Good for her to know what she/we need to work towards saving. Maybe she'll decide this is more important than figure skating. If she gave that up, we could pay for it ...and maybe take a vacation, shop somewhere besides the thrift store, eat organic again... Why, oh why did I ever give that girl a pair of skates?

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