Welcome to our adult version of summer camp. We asked friends to tell us what types of information have eluded them over the years, and we point them to the resources below. Learn something new from this sampling of their inquiries and continue this conversation by posting more questions.
Phyllis: In composition class, I could never find anything to write about.
In Developing Writers: A Workshop for High School Teachers, workshop 7, “Learning From Professional Writers,” teachers and professional writers give strategies for finding your writer’s voice. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones are recommended to help you observe the world with a writer’s eye and get that pen moving on the paper.
Science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game series) and Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia) share insights on using plot, character development, and cultural references in good storytelling in In Search of the Novel, workshop 2, “What’s the Story?“.
Laurie: How does the Electoral College work?
In The Constitution: That Delicate Balance, program 3, “Nomination, Election, and Succession of the President,” Edmund Muskie, Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter, and various party officials discuss the role of the Electoral College in presidential elections.
Stephanie: I want to know basic astronomy.
In Planet Earth, program 4, “Tales From Other Worlds,” scientists analyze meteorites in Antarctica to piece together how our solar system formed. See footage of Mars, Venus, and Jupiter and hear what scientists have learned from observing these planets.
Learn about the Giant Impact Model, which proposes that a Mars-sized object once crashed into the Earth creating the Earth and the Moon, in the Learner Express Modules, “The Moon was Formed From a Collision.”
Stephanie: Teach me practical physics.
Essential Science for Teachers: Physical Science explores practical physics. For example, in session 3, “Physical Changes and Conservation of Matter,” learn what happens to matter when it is dissolved or evaporated. In session 7, “Heat and Temperature,” forecaster Bill Babcock answers “Why do we need heated towel racks?” as he explains how heat is transferred from your skin to water on your skin after a shower.
Pamela: I want to learn about bird and butterfly identification.
Start with the birds and butterflies in your own back yard (and learn how to attract them) by tracking migrating species with Journey North, a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. Citizen scientists (like you!) track the coming of spring through animal migration patterns and seasonal changes like daily sunrise and sunset. Take the Creature Quiz and identify species of birds, insects, and mammals by sight and sound. Follow Journey North news updates to locate hummingbirds, monarchs, and other species as they migrate.
Write to us (in the comments section below) with more inquiries like these and we will do our best to direct you to a relevant resource.