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Must haves for Science Units on Meteorology and Astronomy


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If you've done these topics, what MUST haves would you suggest?  Not curriculum, but "things".  For example, when we did Geology last year, we bought these awesome, beautiful books The Elements and Minerals.  


I purchased awesome 1000 piece puzzles of the Periodic Table of Elements.  I had an app on their tablets called Toca Boca Lab.  


Stuff like that.  

Obviously a telescope is a must...any suggestions on good ones that are under $100?  Maybe $150?  



Edited to answer a couple of questions...


The kids are 11, 10 (and very science-oriented), just about 9 and almost 8.  


We live in the country, have little light pollution and wide open skies.  We can see the milky way (albeit faintly) on clear nights.  

Edited by Sweetpea3829
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For both of those, I'd say that the hands-on stuff is secondary.  The main thing is that you want to be sure you have solid, interesting books and videos.


I did meteorology and astronomy with my 9th grader, so I'm no help with specifics for the younger set.


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What ages?


Edited to Add: Sorry, I'm on Tapatalk so I can't see your signature if you say there. I have elementary aged Astronomy nuts so I can make recommendations there but not for older.

Edited by bwdiaz
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You don't even need a telescope if you have Star Parties (by local Astronomical Society) in your area. The telescopes there will be powerful. We live in a major metro area and there is a star party every Sat night at different parks, but your area may be different.


So my list would be:


Star Parties or a telescope

Solar Glasses (for the solar eclipse 8/21)

The Star Map app --- it rocks and tells you exactly what you are looking at


Edited by RenaInTexas
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I would get a weather center, or make one. They will tell you rainfall, temperature, wind direction, that kind of thing.  Complex ones will record the information for you, but it can be nice to use ones tht the kids have to take the measurements and record them.  You can use the information to draw some interesting graphs.


A sun dial which you can also build, could be nice.


There is a nice app for a tablet that acts as a star map when you hold it up to the sky.


A glass that measures pressure, like this weather glass.

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If you liked The Elements (the Theodore Gray one, right?), check out The Solar System by Marcus Chown. Same kind of concept. Stunning visuals. 


We also enjoyed Galileo and the Stargazers (Jim Weiss audio) and Along Came Galileo as a read-aloud.


I disagree that a telescope is a "must." It depends on the dark sky in your area. Honestly, a strong pair of binoculars might be more useful. Seek out area astronomy lectures and resources (planetariums, solar labs, amateur viewing nights, etc.). Area universities might have options. We visited a TV studio when talking about meteorology. Look at the science centers in a driveable radius for a possible day-trip. Some might have ASTC reciprocal admission in case you have an ASTC membership somewhere already.


Get some Night Sky apps, the kind where you can hold your phone up to the sky and it will label what you're seeing as you aim your phone. Really cool!

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Not a "thing" really, but we recently took a field trip to tour our local branch of the National Weather Service. The meteorologist who showed us around was extremely knowledgeable and took plenty of time to answer our questions. It was fascinating. And it was free!

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