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Learn kinesthetic astronomy Friday with Outward Bound

Daily Staff Report
Special to the Daily/NASAOutward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School teacher Mike Zawaski teaches kinesthetic astronomy Friday at Berry Creek Middle School.
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EDWARDS ” For most of us, reading the night sky is limited to spotting Orion, the Big Dipper, the Milky Way, the occasional planet and the moon.

Most of us are clear on important astronomical concepts like how the moon orbits around the Earth, the Earth around the Sun and what makes the seasons pass from summer into fall.

But what if you could learn new concepts that would advance your enjoyment and understanding of the night sky, and learn them in a way that would involve your body?

Get ready to become one with the Earth with Mike Zawaski, co-founder of an innovative teaching technique called kinesthetic astronomy. Zawaski brings his workshop to the Vail Valley on Friday.

During the workshop, Zawaski teaches basic astronomical concepts through choreographed bodily movements that confront common misconceptions in astronomy and get participants to rotate, revolve, bend, twist and perceive in new ways.

Gore Range Natural Science School hosts this final Mountain Field Studies program which takes place at Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards.

Zawaski’s passion for the night sky offers participants a refreshing way to reflect upon their own relationship to it.

“The day and nighttime sky has so many secrets to share, if you know the right questions to ask, like where do I look, and when?” explained Zawaski. “One of the best topics to learn about is the Moon. You can plan your activities based on the phase. For example, the full moon rises at sunset, so that is a bad phase for star gazing, but a great time for an evening ski tour.”

Zawaski’s workshops typically attract audiences of all interest levels – from novice astronomers to more seasoned stargazers.

“I don’t stand up and lecture,” he said. “When looking at the night sky, I focus on teaching people how to interpret what they see, instead of just telling them what is going on in the sky at that moment. People learn when they are having fun and when they are mentally and physically engaged.”

An outdoor educator with Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Zawaski created Kinesthetic Astronomy with Cheri Morrow. NASA awarded the team generous funding in 1999 to create their curriculum for sixth grade through adult learners.

To register in advance for The Sun, The Moon and The Stars, call Gore Range Natural Science School at 827-9725, ext. 10. You may also register the evening of the program. The program is best suited for eager learners ages 12 and older.

Vail, Colorado


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