Thursday, March 10 2005 @ 12:00 pm EST
Contributed by: bobmoody
American elementary schools generally present the science of astronomy and space science during the 4th, 5th, or 6th grades. Teachers are sometimes pushed to their limits with the enthusiastic responses and a deluge of questions from their students when the subject of space comes up. AOAS can help during these times, and we're here to assist those teachers when they need us.
|Bob Moody, current AOAS President, is displaying the Phi Delta Kappa International Certificate of Recognition for Distinguished Service by an Organization Outside Education which was awarded to AOAS May 11, 1998 for having represented the science of Astronomy to more than 60,000 individuals since 1985.|
In 1985, I was observing with other AOAS members shortly after we formed this club, when someone overheard me describing the stars of Scorpius to two young ladies who wanted to know more about their "sign". I didn't give them anything they could use in forecasting their futures as an astrologer might, but instead I described the constellation's stars as I pointed out the shape of the Scorpion. I'd loved anything to do with space since childhood and it just seemed natural to me to share what limited knowledge I had. I turned around after a while to find that I'd had that other audience member behind me, and was shocked to hear him say that I'd done a good job at presenting my info on Scorpius. Then he completely blew me away when he asked if I'd be interested in giving any school presentations on astronomy sometime. That was how I began my deepest love involving this wonderful hobby, and I still do presentations for area schools now nearly 19 years later whenever I can.
In 1998, AOAS Education Director, Dr. Chuck Larson, asked Joe Roam and myself how many people we thought we might have been involved with in even the slightest way regarding astronomy and our presentations of it to area schools and the public in general. Well, we took about 2-3 weeks racking our brains to try and give him an accurate guesstimation. The numbers we came up with were some 60,000 people that we had reached in our first 13 years as a group, and we both felt that this was a conservative estimate. Either Joe, or I, or both of us, had participated in most or all of the events that AOAS had held until that time, and we had both seen star parties as large as the estimated 3,500 attendees at Vasche Grasse Park SE of Ft Smith on January 26, 1986. That event highlighted Halley's Comet in it's starring role that evening, but that was one BIG star party! Just three months later in April 1986, another estimated 2,500 people joined us at Ben Geren Park for comet Halley's curtain call before it returned to the frigid depths beyond Neptune where it currently resides. There is no doubt; AOAS knows
how to show the public a good time at the eyepiece of a telescope.
I began giving presentations to area schools during this time, also. The Astronomical League had developed an audio tape and slide presentation specifically for Halley's 1985-1986 return that anyone could use to inform the public about it's impending visit. We ordered the presentation kit, placed a few announcements in area newspapers and with the television stations, and the calls came in every few days. I diligently recorded my presentations and within 4 months, I had made 26 presentations to more than 7,000 students and teachers. Several of my presentations were to entire auditoriums filled with from 700 people (Vian, OK) to just over 900 people in Greenwood, AR another morning. I topped off that biggest day in Greenwood by making a quick presentation to 25 members of their Chamber of Commerce during my noon break before returning home. The satisfaction I felt after these presentations was deep beyond description.
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