Teachers and leaders that we have encouraged or trained to observe and sketch the heavens often provide us examples of their recorded observations. In a very real sense, all of us are students as we observe the created heavens, but these sketches are from those who have responsibilities to provide instruction or example or leadership to others. These functions usually mean that we (we include ourselves) are interested in others, curious about what God has made, and want others to appreciate what He has done. Hence, when these ladies and gentlemen provide us samples of their work, it is our distinct pleasure to show them. In many places we go, there is no internet or venue where these sketches and their observing/sketching learning process can be seen. We may only see some of these people once, so the opportunities to get samples of their material are few. We hope you enjoy their work.
IFL, Laguna, Philippines
The Philippine Project began in 2010 but our first visit did not occur until early 2011, when we trained a group of teachers and staff from Institute for Foundational Learning (IFL) in Laguna. We took 10 refractor/binocular kits along with teaching aids and the AOBV (Astronomical Observing from a Biblical View) curriculum. The scans that follow are some of the first observing sheets that the students developed near the end of the training. Finding good skies during our visit was a challenge, so when it was clear or there were “holes” in the clouds, we moved quickly to observe. Of the observing times that were available, most students only had two to four times to be outside sketching an object, so their work is representative of new observers and new sketchers. It was an exciting time to see them master the basic skills quickly.
The observing sheets were developed during different times and at varying lessons in the curriculum. Some show full observing sheets (with a sketch, conditions, notes, a scripture, and an observing comment) if they were developed later in the training. Others were earlier when they were learning how to place star fields or they were learning basic sketch techniques for observing objects. It was our pleasure to teach these young teachers–all of whom had never used a binocular or a telescope before. We were at IFL for several weeks, so we were able to get to know them on a first name basis. The experience with them was delightful and many stories could be told about the classes and the observing periods that we had with them. For viewers who want to see a report from the trip, follow this link.
We have worked with three teachers at the Nyamabuga Primary and Secondary School who are charged with teaching astronomical observing from a Biblical view to their students. None of them had ever observed the skies in a practiced manner, used optics (telescopes or binoculars), or sketched as a means of recording observations. During our trips in 2008 and 2009 we began to train them to train their students. As they got excited, we got excited. These men also directed the on-site observing contest that we sponsored that was responsible for children submitting sketches for us to judge. One sketch paper is shown from each gentleman.
Baluku (on the left) is in charge of the primary school and Ezra (right) is one of the primary teachers. These two men are beginning to teach the upper primary grades about astronomical observing. Richard (center) is in charge of the whole astronomical observing program that we introduced and is in charge of the Secondary school. It is exciting to see what they have done and where the program might go. They have made excellent progress.
Richard has a little more experience than the others. His sketch shows details of some craters, crater layout for a binocular is very good, overall shape and terminator are well represented. His observing sheet has all the elements that we suggest for a complete observing period.
Baluku’s first sketch submission is very good. Moon shape is good; he is beginning to notice and capture lighter and darker areas of the lunar surface; elements on the observing sheet are complete. His pencil work is good. With a little practice, he will improve quickly. Good work!
Ezra did this double sheet of observing but also submitted a microscope (we sent little microscopes on the container) sketch. He used the standard observing sheet example forms and did a good job capturing the moon on one night and a pattern of stars on another. Like Baluku, these are first sketches and they are well done. He will make rapid progress as he continues.
TEACHERS FROM THAILAND
We met Thawai and Keo Chaisuk from Thailand in late summer 2009 at a friend’s house. During our conversation they expressed interest in the AOBV training, which they wanted to incorporate into a little but expanding Christian school in a small village in Thailand. They returned to Virginia a few weeks later and we worked with them 3 days and nights with the curriculum and equipment. We also had 3 clear nights, so they were able to learn the equipment and observe. Thawai is also a pastor of a church; both are teachers in the little school; they have nine children–most of them adopted. When they left, we gave them an equipment set and the curriculum so they can get started upon returning home.
After the day training, Thawai and Keo were excited to try their new skills in the evenings. We were blessed with several clear nights, so they were able to work with same equipment kit (80-mm refractor and binoculars) that they eventually took home to their school.
They used binoculars at first and then the telescope. The second night they began sketching; this is an example of their first sketches, which well represented the spatial positions of the Galilean moons around Jupiter and identified the major light/dark sections of the moon.
Keo did this sketch the last night of observing which already shows improvement from the first night. It is a good example of an eager learner whose skills at observing improve rapidly with a little training. Like us, they will teach the observing skills as an introduction to the created heavens…that point to God.
Thawai chose to sketch the moon the last night, too, but he was instructed to catch any other details that he noticed around the moon. It was unexpected, but he observed and sketched the passage of a passenger jet with contrails without any suggestion or note from us. Like his wife, he is a fast learner, and the developed skill of observing what you see at the time of an observation will help him in the school with young learners.