PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: Fw: John Cole's Mini-Mini Lehman
From: CapAAVSO@.......
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 13:10:34 EDT

In a message dated 6/16/00 10:32:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
FINKEJE@............ writes:

<< However, by providing our kids (future seismologist, amateur or otherwise, 
scientist, and engineers) with inexpensive, effective instruments we are 
providing a benefit that transcends self-gratification.  I, for one, commend 
John and Frank for their initiative to place these instruments in our 
schools.  Where perhaps, at that level, the focus shouldn't be on the 
instrument so much as the result, i.e., what is the earth doing today? >>

Hi John,
    You are right about the schools and I agree with you 100%. And my letter 
WAS NOT about putting them in schools. Kids today have so many important 
things to learn in school that there is certainly no time to build 
seismographs. I help to maintain a homemade seismograph in a nature center 
where teachers bring their students on field trips. There are stuffed animals 
and birds and rocks and a nature trail but the thing that interests the kids 
most is the seismograph. They would watch the 6-second microseisms drawing a 
line on its homemade drum for hours if their teacher didn't drag them away. I 
am all for putting seismographs in schools or anywhere else where they can be 
watched and enjoyed. When a big earthquake makes the headlines people call 
the nature center to ask if they recorded it. Then some come just to see the 
real life recording. Perhaps some of us should offer to set up our homemade 
Lehmans in a school or nature center. A gift and an offer to set it up and 
explain it would make it into a classroom much quicker and easier than the 
school's having to buy one. The fact that it is homemade from Home Depot 
parts might inspire a student to build one as a science fair project. I am 
presently helping a girl build a McWilliams magnetometer as a science fair 
project. It is a very rewarding experience. I like to think my efforts might 
lead her to choose science as a career. I am also a judge at science fairs 
where half of the participants are girls these days. When they show me their 
project and explain it to me I can see how much they learned and how much 
enjoyment they got out of building their own thing and using it to test their 
theory. I firmly believe the science fair experience steers more students 
into scientific careers than just reading about science or seeing a 
demonstration. There is no better learning experience than building your own 
thing and seeing it work the way you hoped it would. And of course their are 
scholarships for the winners at the science fair too.
Best regards, 

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Larry Cochrane <cochrane@..............>