Quote of the Week
“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking
Hi, this is the GenWise team– we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and working together. We are also a founder-member of the Gifted India Network– if you are interested in issues related to gifted education and talent development, an easy way to keep updated about talks, programs and resources is to join the Gifted India Network telegram channel (https://t.me/GiftedIndia).
In this week’s main post ‘When was the last time you looked up at the night sky?’, Captain Preetham Madhukar of Skills Beyond Education, makes a passionate case for gazing up at the night sky. Whether you are a parent or an educator, we hope this stirs up some fond memories for you and inspires you to look up at the skies again and bond with your children, family and friends in the process.
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When was the last time you looked up at the night sky?
When was the last time you looked up at the night sky?
Which child does not look up at the night sky and ask questions about this wondrous expanse and the stars? Why do we then stop gazing at the night sky?
There are enough ‘utilitarian and educational’ reasons for children to look up at the night sky- to spur interest in astronomy and science and so on. But there are much more important reasons than that for stargazing. Stargazing fills us with a sense of wonder, puts the troubles of our daily lives in perspective, and gives us a sense of connectedness. What greater goals than these can be there for education?
Read on to see what Captain Preetham Madhukar has to say about this, and register for the online stargazing webinar if this inspires you (details in the ‘Upcoming Events’ section).
Our ancestors, would lie outside their huts, caves and look up at the night sky, wondering at the mysteries of the cosmos and sometimes enjoying the night sky for its own sake. Stargazing has the power to make us feel hopeful, inspired and creative. It helps us feel relaxed and meditative. Do you want to feel this way too?
In times not long ago, we would ask someone looking depressed to ‘chin up’ to make them feel better. It has been known that lifting our chin up even an inch for a couple of minutes makes us feel hopeful, inspired and cheers up our moods. It’s no secret that kings and queens fallen from battle would often look up to the heavens for hope and inspiration. Sometimes people would ask the stars to give them strength to do, courage to act or provide clarity in their decisions.
We have stopped looking up to the sky any longer, we are buried in our digital gadgets and look down, more often than up. In a way, we are aiding the depression inducing hormones rather than the ones that lift our moods. Light pollution due to our cities, towns, and now even villages hasn’t helped make this activity of stargazing any easier.
There is a dark-sky movement now among people who are sensitive to preserving such spaces and are working towards creating dark sky parks and environments. We can do our part in small ways by changing over from White LEDs to warmer lights, preferably even incandescent lights. We need to ask ourselves whether we really need so many outdoor lights turned on or can they be switched off when not needed. Who knows your neighbour and her family may be looking up at the skies tonight?
I remember one participant from the stargazing camp, who remarked at the end of the session, that he was so overwhelmed and realised that he had not looked up at the skies for over 20 years. Such moments do keep me inspired to bring the art of stargazing to more people.
Stargazing creates a great bond when done together with a friend, your child, your partner or even groups of people. One of the participants who had attended a stargazing camp as a father-son duo about 5 years back, remarked that he and his son still remember stargazing under the beautiful night sky. The place wasn’t in the Himalayas or the Rann of Kutch- it was a short drive from the outskirts of Bangalore city.
It is important to remember that you can stargaze from anywhere and still come out with a good experience or feeling. Yes, the number of stars will vary or be less, but do not underestimate your own terrace top, balcony garden or that short drive to the edge of your city.
Many of us like to enjoy stargazing but sometimes feel overwhelmed with the technical bits or we don’t know how to stargaze? You’re not alone!
At Skills Beyond Education, we conduct a simple and easy 90 minutes Star Gazing webinar for novices and beginners where you will learn how you can stargaze using simple, fun and easy, naked eye viewing techniques like ancient travellers, sages and sailors, without having to wait to attend our live-events.
So, next time when you lie under the night sky, you will be able to have more fun, become relaxed, stir up your imagination, create interesting stories, recognise some stars and become more comfortable with the night sky, while wondering about your purpose or the cosmos.
The condition being: You need to carry your eyes where ever you go.
Well, the stars aren’t going to keep waiting forever, you know. So when will you next look up at the night sky?
About the Author:
Captain Preetham Madhukar is a sea captain and founder of Skills Beyond Education and a trustee of Varuna Foundation. He has been stargazing for over 2 decades professionally and personally and since 2016 has been conducting ‘Star Gazing Camps’ for children and adults to bring back the art of stargazing into our daily practices.
Star Gazing Webinar for Beginners (Online, Paid)- on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This is a 90 min webinar, where you will learn how to stargaze using simple and easy, naked eye viewing techniques like ancient travellers, sages and sailors. Stargazing is best in a live session, but this webinar is to help you learn to stargaze by yourself, without having to wait to attend a live event. The session objectives are- to learn the art of stargazing without feeling overwhelmed; to know what to look for while lying under the canopy of the night sky; to have fun stirring up your imagination and creativity. The webinar style is suitable for older children (14+). Younger children can participate along with their parents / teachers as co-guides. Register here.
Summer Programs from GenWise (Residential)- May 8- May 29 (Paid)
India’s premier talent search platform, Ei ASSET Talent Search (ATS) and GenWise are strategic partners. ATS identifies gifted students and GenWise delivers programs to nurture gifts. Watch Ei ATS Gold/ Silver/ Bronze scholars sharing their experience at GenWise programs here-
Registrations are now open for 3 residential programs in May 2022, all running concurrently at the same campus- For Ei ATS Gold/ Silver/ Bronze scholars -GenWise 2022 (entering Gr 8,9,10) -GenWise Jr. 2022 (entering Gr 6,7) Open to all interested students -Genesis 2022 (entering Gr 8,9,10) Please check this post- https://bit.ly/GenWise2022Substack and this presentation for more details- https://bit.ly/GenWise2022programsPPT The academic enrichment component of the program provides diverse opportunities to students to identify and pursue their interests- Artificial Intelligence, Mathematical Thinking, Leadership, Forensic Investigations, Urban Sustainability, Creative Writing and Engineering Design are just some of the options available. All the programs above are however much more than their academic enrichment component and the goal of the program is to help with the development of the whole child-read more about the benefits of GenWise programs at https://bit.ly/WhyGenWisePrograms Safety and comfort of students is ensured by a high quality team of Residential Counselors, trained and managed by the experienced Site Director and Residential Head. The adult:student ratio is 1:5 or greater. Call Vishnu @9342247734 or Rajesh@9840970514 or write to email@example.com.
Science Week, Feb 26- Mar 6, 2022, 4:30- 6:00 PM, Online sessions (Free)
On the occasion of National Science Day 2022, The Academy Trust, Indian Academy of Sciences in collaboration with Seed2Sapling Education invites you to an exciting series of expert talks, exploratory & interactive sessions and more for students, teachers and every science enthusiast to experience of the beauty of science and maths.
Science week celebrations will be followed by
❓ A unique question contest for both students and teachers
🧑🎓 A certificate workshop for science and math teachers
Register here for the event.