Students at the University of Michigan Create Solar System Guide

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Two alumni of University of Michigan’s College of Engineering: Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences‘ program collaborated with the non-profit 826michigan to develop the educational guide titled “The Moons Were Jealous.” In addition to the approachable research, the guide provides resources and classroom activities for educators.

The nine chapters in the book each focus on a different celestial body. The chapters include a description of the body, questions and answers and a page about an AOSS researcher who studies that topic.

For example, the Mars chapter has a page on Associate Professor Mike Liemohn. A student wrote: “Would you like to live on Mars?”

“No. The atmosphere is very thin and very cold, so you would have to be inside or totally covered in a space suit,” Liemohn answered. “Plus, going outside means being exposed to harmful cosmic rays, which are not shielded away from the surface by a magnetic bubble and thick atmosphere like they are on Earth.”

The book also includes activities for teachers to try in class. These activities were tested in workshops for local students held at the 826michigan headquarters and Green Baxter Court Community Center. The workshops were the starting points for each chapter.

“My favorite part about putting the book together was working with the students themselves,” Mihalka says. “It was especially interesting to see what kind of fun creative stories they would come up with…I distinctly remember a student asking Earth if the moon was his girlfriend.”

Gershman agrees the best part of working on the book was helping with workshops.

“At each location we got to work with a lot of the same students, so we got to share several different activities/planets with them.”

Mihalka says she thinks the workshops introduced the students to science in a unique way…

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