The Science of Christmas
Kathy Dullea Hogan
In the aftermath of the Quincy Christmas Parade, I want you to know that this year I entered the Christmas Parade Theme contest but didn’t expect to be chosen. Why? Because I knew a Science of Christmas theme would need more than a few weeks to prepare a plan for a float. That’s right, I did suggest the Science of Christmas! This is a chance to look at this special holiday from a very different point of view – Starting with the story of the first Christmas, combined with celebrations of the season and winter fun. When you think about it, the possibilities are so many. And I offer you these ideas to show how it could be done:
· Astronomy: The Star of Bethlehem
· Light waves
· Electric lights
· Fireworks on New Year’s Eve
· Choral singing
· Holiday music
· Vibrations, sound waves
· Christmas trees
· Recycling those Christmas trees
· Animals: donkey, sheep, cow, camel, reindeer
· North Pole
· States of matter for water: ice and snow / water / steam and fog
· Periodic table. Identify elements found in some of the above suggestions. For example, What elements are found in trees and wreaths?
What elements produce different colors in fireworks?
What elements are used in electric lights?
· These sports are all great ways you can learn about physics – Sledding, Skating, Skiing. Discover energy and gravity, friction, inertia, axis of rotation (skating), and more
through your favorite winter sport. My blog can give you more on this (see below).
· Satellites tracking Santa Claus!
· The Patriot Ledger does a whimsical page every year on the “physics” of Santa’s trip, some of it possible, some of it needing some imagination and a leap of faith, and maybe a bit of magic, too!
I’m sure you can think of more ideas.
Keep in mind:
* Science is about discovering the principles by which The Great Scientist created this universe.
* Unlike the man in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, don’t just put on your sleeping cap, put on your thinking cap.
* Feel free to contact me for ideas.
* Students, consider this theme to inspire your science fair project.
* If an individual or a group develops something before April, you might be able to present it at the South Shore Science Festival (firstname.lastname@example.org or www.southshorescience.org).
Kathy Dullea Hogan is co-chair of the South Shore Science Festival, a part of MIT’s Cambridge Science Festival. She was thrilled to discover teaching to be her vocation when she was 40. She founded the Fr. Maurice Dullea, S.J., Athletic Scholarship at Boston College in 1996 and is the author of a blog, Gateway to Science: Sports and Games. Contact Kathy at email@example.com.
“The First GPS…”
Thanks to www.thestarpress.com