Capture A Teachable Moment With A Tool As Simple As A Telescope

I'd like to share with you that as both a parent and a former teacher observing children at their leisure is one of the strongest opportunities for a teachable moment and a lifelong experience for a child. Have you ever lain face up on the summer grass in the early evening gazing up at the stars? Has your child? Have you ever chased an animal in a near wood just to get a closer look? Has your child? These can be teachable moments for you and your child. From tools of established research and tools of recreational (telescopes) learning can become enjoyable past-time and a doorway to a profession.

Whether in a classroom or at home a child's inattention to the task at hand may be viewed as distracted behavior. The teacher and parent should see the positive to convert the seemingly "unfocused" activity to a learning opportunity by viewing it as a teachable moment.

Engage the child with a question such as, "What do you see in the sky?" In the case where the child has chased after an animal, "Did you catch up with that rabbit?" In either situation probe further with a question such as, "Do you want to know more about what you are seeing?" Suggest that together you look up more information on the computer, or in the case of sky watching plan a trip to a planetarium. You have intentionally placed your attention on your child. Children tend to enjoy positive attention from the important adults in their life and are often receptive to their input, when they see the adult is focused on them. Not only was this a teachable moment, you have also begun a process of motivation merely by focusing on your child.

If you have created a motivation in your child to experience and learn more about the night sky or the animals that occupy your nearby woods, then the inclusion of a simple optic tool, a refractive or reflective telescope, into that teachable moment can be effective in integrating an activity generating a lifelong learning experience with potential career aspects.

Most manufacturers do not recommend either the refractive or reflective telescopes for pre-adolescents, if you are in the market for a child's toy, this is correct. However, the experience we are talking about here is a guided learning exposure to the equipment. In fact, telescopes are optics for the steady hand, and as a possible newcomer to this equipment yourself, you should consider a refractive type which allows for an easy "hands off" look through an indirect lens, all of which is set on a tripod. Prices for telescope range widely, so consider your purchase carefully. Remember, this is a learning experience for you as well as your child. As time goes by, you can graduate to more complex equipment, so for now keep it simple.

I hope you enjoy this two-fold journey of monitoring your growing child, enhancing his or her life with teachable moments and meaningful learning experiences such as developing an interest in telescopes and other optics.

By: Robert Baruch