Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory has been a great place to go whether you like or don't like the sciences. As a child I came with my family before the large renovation, and now that is has been a while I returned and it is better than ever. This place does not hold to just one type of science, it embodies many different types. Chemistry, astronomy, physics, and many others are all represented in this place. Coming here during the day is a great trip, but there is no better view of the Los Angeles skyline than from the Griffith Observatory.

Visiting The Griffith Observatory can be an enhancement of the ideas being taught in class. Students will benefit by having exhibitions become visually represented. Many science ideas are present in the observatory. There are many visual aids that help students make the connection between what they read about during class and what they see in this area. One exhibit that would be great for students is the moon phases. This exhibit plays to the students’ visual and auditory senses when exploring the moon phases.

Before visiting The Observatory, students can be prepared by giving them an objective. Some of the exhibits might not relate directly to what they are learning, but it is helpful in creating background knowledge which they might use later. Having some type of scavenger hunt in groups can be entertaining for the students because they have fun while they learn about the different parts of the observatory. Having these preparations can be useful for EL and special needs students because the teacher can place the students in certain groups depending on their performance and even behavior. Maybe some students might need pictures or translations on their paper.

When teaching certain areas, websites to the Griffith observatory can be used as a tool. If a teacher plans to teach by a certain exhibition, using these areas a specific teaching plan and fieldtrip plan can be made so that time and energy is used efficiently during both activities.

After finalizing the fieldtrip, students can be debriefed using the scavenger hunt papers they used to visit the observatory. Depending on how this is used it can be done different ways. One way can be to focus on the main topic that was meant to be explored by asking what was learned. What did they find interesting? More specific questions can be asked to check for understanding and connection made between the classroom study and the fieldtrip. After the teacher has exhausted the students ideas, if some were left out, the teacher can make connections and ask if they now see what connections have been made.

The Griffith Observatory provides plenty of different areas to keep you intrigued. Ever wonder how much you weight at the moon? There's no need to wonder any further with the planetary exhibition, you can see how much you weigh on the different planets. If you get tired you can have a seat next to Albert Einstein and ponder about his ideas. You might just get pulled into the excitement.

One of the most interesting things that I saw at The Griffith Observatory was the life size periodic table. I loved how each element had its own physical representation. It's great to visually see how some of the elements look. This place has many areas where anyone can learn and be entertained at the same time during the different exhibits. There is also a place to watch a presentation about astronomy in a theater type setting.

The Griffith Observatory is also next to the Hollywood sign that has a hiking area that can be fun for the family, but maybe to dangerous for students that are not being constantly watched. It also has an amazing gift shop that carries many peculiar items where you can get a memento to remember your visit always.