Our week studying Astrophysics at Brookhaven National Labs was out of this world! The exciting adventure began with lessons on how we get a closer look at the universe we live in, including lessons on how to put together telescopes, and how an understanding of optics helps us use telescopes to look into the sky. The girls then used this knowledge to put together their own telescopes, which they used to monitor sunspots throughout the week.
Following this great introduction to our universe, the girls learned about how vast it truly is through discussions on how astronomers talk about distance. With new units of measurement and an understanding of conversion rates in tow, the girls put together scale models of our galaxy!
After learning about our distance from other planets and stars, the girls learned about how astronomers learn these distance- as well as the composition of other planets atmospheres- through studying light. The girls learned about how different elements refract light in different ways, which is why we know that the atmosphere on planets like Venus is unsuitable for human life!
The next day the girls learned how the sun is able to emit light, through an engaging activity where the girls simulated an active photon attempting to leave the core of the sun through random movements! Sometimes it took as little as five movements to escape the core, and sometimes as many as 100!
We were joined by a guest speaker who is currently working on building a giant telescope that will be constructed by the US Government in Chile! She taught us how the digital telescope works and about other large telescopes all over the world!
On their final day the girls learned about pixels and how they are used to make up parts of a larger image- especially in digital photography, like the photos that the digital telescopes take. As well the girls learned about photons and the properties they have when in contact with one another.
In the afternoons, our Girls Inc. facilitators delivered programming on economic literacy. Girls played games to guess comparative prices of different products, and talked about how to budget and manage money, as well as how the wage gap could affect them.
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