Triangulum Safari

jessS: While at the national National Science Teacher Association conference in Chicago this week, I learned how to weigh a galaxy. It’s quite simple actually; I just solved a simple equation for Mgal, or mass of the galaxy. Easy. Just like the search for dark matter. Not hard at all.

A: Just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, right? We have evidence! The discrepancy of using triangulum to measure the mass of a galaxy vs. just measuring light is so huge! There must be something that accounts for what we cannot see, but know is there. Whatever it is has mass. It exists. This concept, like so many others that baffle me as a science educator, became clearer to me this week. Like a sponge in gravy.

F: I do understand, however, the curiosity of all scientists who are dedicating their lives to solving the biggest unsolved mystery of all time. They are seeking the invisible thing that holds everything together. What an incredible journey! No matter how hard things get, we are all somehow in this together.

A: Thousands of science teachers in one spot are a tad overwhelming, especially as a curriculum writer, but very rewarding, too. Presentations on the future of science education, and the need for a society that is scientifically literate enough to live “without warning labels on every apparatus produced.” Conversations ranging from climate change to constructing scientific explanations; data to differentiation; professional development to phenology.

R: I came here as a graduate student researcher, a curriculum manager, and also as a science teacher.  I came in hopes to learn more about that wonderful overlap between science and education, especially in congruence with the Next Generation Science Standards. To find ways to inspire students so they don’t constantly remark that they don’t care ‘because everything has already been discovered.’

I: Being here this week, looking into my own future ‘without warning labels,’ helped me realize my own journey in seeking the invisible thing that holds everything together. Easy, right? Not hard at all. Yet, I can only tell you what it isn’t; I cannot quite tell you what it is.


© 2015 Jess Rowell

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