Q: In the scientific calculations portion of Infinity and Beyond, will the students be required to use a scientific calculator, or will they be allowed to do it longhand if they want?
5:30-6:00 2nd grade student competitors
6:10-6:40 3rd grade student competitors
6:50- 7:20 4th grade student competitors
7:30-8:00 5th grade student competitors
These workshops will be held in the Planetarium for student competitors ONLY! Parents and coaches should come prepared to wait for your team members outside in the hall.
Q: Will the fifth graders need to know the dates when the sun crosses each Zodiac constellation?
Can you provide a little guidance on the following questions in the “Sun” section:
Where is the Sun in the sky?
How high does it get?
Where is it when it is the highest?
How long is it in the sky?
Response – I really need to rephrase many parts of the guidance, my apologies that this is vague and unhelpful. The intention here is for students (depending on grade level) to understand where the Sun appears in the sky – this connects with the seasons too. Obviously I’m talking to coaches here, as the answer uses jargon that most students (especially the younger ones) won’t be understanding.
– the Sun appears to move along the zodiac as the year progresses, and because of the tilt of the Earth appears to have positive declination (up to about +23 degrees) from vernal to autumnal equinox, and negative declination (down to about -23 degrees) the rest of the year.
– the Sun is highest in the sky during the day at solar noon, as it passes the meridian – the line on the sky between your north and south. So from some place like Ann Arbor, north of +23 degrees, the Sun is always due south when it’s highest on the sky, and is quite low in winter, but higher in the summer. I won’t want students to work out angles, but the due south and that it’s higher in the summer than the winter I want them to know.
– finally, how far north or south the Sun appears changes the length of the day – when it’s further north from a site like Ann Arbor, it rises much earlier, and so days are long.
Question 2: Will you be posting a sample video of how the planetarium software will be set up/displayed?
Because we’re doing the event in the planetarium proper, we won’t be posting a sample video. My apologies. Planetarium software will look reasonably similar in contrast/star prominence to how the planetarium looks. If you have a chance to take your students out at night and if you can find a spot that’s less light-polluted (towards the edge of or a little outside of town), then that gives a better idea of how differently one interacts with the constellations when they’re projected all around you instead of on a screen.