Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kids know science is cool

Sometimes I try to think of something philosophical to say when I start out one of my posts.  I know this is a symptom of watching too much Anthony Bourdain from Parts Unknown.  He'll be at a street market in someplace like Thailand, and talking about the facts of life.  I'm sitting at my desk with an awesome case of writer's block, eating street food about two days old, and thinking about what is important in life.

Son and I enjoying boiling river at Yellowstone National Park

Then the answer hits me like a ton of bricks.  It's like I've been wanting to write about this from the very beginning.  It is very important to me that kids work hard to get a great education.  I want them to learn that science is fun and liberating.  Apogee loves to have kids come over and see how we operate.  It's not uncommon for Boy Scouts to take a tour and spend multiple hours playing with our instruments.  We are allowed to bring our own kids and let them learn.

My son is learning how to recalibrate an old sensor

I have an amazing boy that loves anything electronics.  You ask him what he wants to be, and he'll tell you that he wants to become an electrical engineer.  Engineers are his Tom Bradys.  Those are his heroes.  I brought my son to the office and showed him how to recalibrate some sensors, and how to fix others.  New worlds opened up for him.  After that,  I got to show him how these instruments can be incorporated into our world. 

My son plugging in sensors to be tested
Then I brought him over and let him use our infrared radiometer meter.  He loved how you could just point at anything and find out the temperature for any given surface in our office.  I explained to him about how the wires, sensor, and meter come together to allow him to take the temperature of different things.  I explained to him how we can see the temperature of snowy mountains to tell if there could be avalanche danger.  Science became that much cooler because he realized the practicality of our instruments.

My son seeing the temperature of a plant

He loved measuring the temperature of different plants

If you know anything about me, you know that I love the water and animals.  My boy has not shown a lot of interest in animals until recently.  They aren't as entertaining as electronics.  I want my kids to be future scuba buddies, though, so  I try to use my reef tank to get him interested in scuba diving and animals.  I let him use our quantum sensors to test around the tank to see what the light is at any given time.  He loved it.

I had him adjust the light levels for our aquarium to see how PAR changed

I told him how the corals and plants depend on the right kind of light getting to them.  I told him how our quantum sensors measure only within that light spectrum.  He started to become interested in the animals.

He's learning how science helps plants and corals grow

What really made his day is that he fixed up a sensor and got to see how his hard work paid off.  He could go around the tank and make measurements.  He knew the meter he fixed would help his dad keep his corals and plants healthy.   He knew the value of the measurements.  Animals were cool.  Apogee was cool.  Science was cool.

He's super stocked that a sensor he helped fix was used to measure Daddy's aquarium

My son learning to swim so that he can become a future scuba diver