Paper Plate Education
"Serving the Universe on a Paper
African Masks activity highlights the role of masks
for celebrations, courtesy of Lisa Soto Kile.
Kaen University in Thailand features several paper plate activities in
the classroom, astronomy camp, and teacher training program. Images
courtesy of Chaiyapong Ruangsuwan.
2008 was a fun astronomy camp for kids and counselors alike. Clear
skies yielded great stargazing and telescope use. Pictures
that reflect the action are emerging at astrocamp2008.htm.
celebrates its 50th
trip around the sun.
||Some changes to the host server have altered
navigation bars. Sorry for the inconvenience.
||Added a useful instruction sheet for Oreo®
Moon Phases activity, courtesy of Becky Nelson.
||The U.S. supports the International Year of
Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) and features national events at http://www.astronomy2009.us.
||Total lunar eclipses on
February 20-21, 2008, is opportunity to try a collection of lunar
eclipse activities listed at new lunareclipse2008.htm.
||Total lunar eclipses on August 28, 2007, and on
February 20-21, 2008, are opportunities to try a collection of lunar
eclipse activities listed at lunareclipse2007-2008.htm.
||At links.htm added six
links to paper plate activities posted elsewhere, from paper plate
hovercraft to the geometry of gears.
||The AstroCamp 2007
astronomy camp for kids featured paper plate activities, including
tracking sunspots and drawing a telescope view and making Moon
||New Globe at Night
activity helps you to be a part of a worldwide observing campaign to
determine your limiting magnitude. Draw the stars you see onto a
plate with Orion's outline, then compare your plate with the magnitude
charts from the Globe at Night program.
||Note added to activities with Follow the
Drinking Gourd applications: "Caveat: The historical
credibility of The Drinking Gourd folklore is challenged at http://www.followthedrinkinggourd.org/index.htm."
||Several paper plate activities support the total
lunar eclipse on March 3, 2007. Eclipse details and ideas are
||Paper Plate Education is featured in the poster
"How do you get Big NASA into a Small Dome?" at the Astronomical
Society of the Pacific (ASP) Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, September
||Activities from the Paper
Plate Astronomy videotape/DVD are now
available online as free streaming video:
||Build giant spheres from plates and cups with
this fun weekend
project by Bre Pettis of Make Magazine.
||AstroCamp 2006 at
YMCA Camp Eberhart features paper plate drawings of solar prominences and
sunspots, as seen by kids through solar filters and a hydrogen-alpha
||The Paper Plate
Astronomy DVD is now on sale,
in addition to the original VHS videotape version. Order your
70-minute demonstration of nine paper plate activities for only $17.00 USD,
||Paper Plate Education is featured in the
Classroom Connect "Connected Newsletter," November 2005, Vol.12,
No. 3. Chuck Bueter addresses the background and development of
paper plate activities for the "Wired Success Story" on page
Observatory Clear Sky Clock anticipates tonight's observing conditions
at YMCA Camp Eberhart, home of AstroCamp, in
Three Rivers, Michigan.
||AstroCamp 2005 at
YMCA Camp Eberhart includes paper plate activities such as the Platisphere
for Kids and Telescope View.
See images from this fun week of stargazing,
telescoping, water rocketing, and more.
activity helps students identify and explain a novel's theme, then
represent a time when that message would be appropriate. Contributed
by Carrie Smith.
||New Light Pollution
activity uses a paper plate to demonstrate how easily light pollution can
be curbed with simple shielding of a bare bulb. While the pollution
decreases, the efficacy of the light fixture increases, thus saving energy
and money. Contributed by 8-yr. old student.
||Skywatchers can observe the total lunar eclipse
of October 27, 2004, at the PHM
Planetarium and Air/Space Museum in Mishawaka, Indiana, USA. See pveclipse2004.htm
for maps, times, and a list of paper plate activities that can accompany a
total lunar eclipse. This eclipse occurs at a convenient time for
North American observers.
||Images from around the globe (and from space,
too) of the transit of Venus are at www.transitofvenus.org/images.htm,
with pictures from the transit of Venus celebration in Mishawaka, Indiana,
USA, at www.transitofvenus.org/june8.htm.
||Transit of Venus!
for ongoing updates about the June 8, 2004, transit of Venus, which continues to consume
our time and energy. We invite you to participate in transit
of Venus events occurring in Mishawaka/South Bend, Indiana. See www.transitofvenus.org/roadtrip.htm
for details about the art exhibit, public observing, and even Transit of
Venus Sunrise Ale!
||Much of our time and energy has been diverted to
transit of Venus planning; hence, the delay in updating this
website. We encourage you to immerse yourself in www.transitofvenus.org.
Also, see the Transit of Venus program at transit.htm
for the complete contents of and ordering form for the Transit of Venus
Look for paper plates in a forthcoming issue of Physics Education,
in which the Transit
Frequency activity appears.
||The results of the Analemma
Project are in, with mixed success. A narrow figure-8 suffers
from a few errant points when plotted on a globe.
||We completed plotting the
sub-solar point on a globe through one year as part of the Analemma
Project. Now we just have to plot the points on the globe to see
if they yield an analemma, that figure-8 feature on some globes.
||Teachers create their own
day and night plates for the As the World
||At our transit of Venus
clearinghouse you can view tentative elements of the Transit of Venus
program , including:
||Transit of Venus program
debuts at the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) Annual
||On the evening of Saturday, November 8,
2003, after the Notre Dame/Navy football game, go outside and watch the
total lunar eclipse, visible shortly after 6:30 p.m. EST. Complement
your experience with lunar paper plate
||In taking paper plate art to a higher plane,
Bradford Hansen-Smith showcases his Wholemovement
creations and philosophy at http://www.wholemovement.com.
||Correction for the Bad
Moon's Rising page: The book showing Percy the train being
lifted out of the water was erroneously attributed. We apologize to
Owain Bell, who was not the illustrator of that book, as we had
suggested. We invite you to contact
us if you can correct the information on title, author, illustrator,
and publisher for that book.
Astrocamp 2003 is added, showing kids at Astrocamp
and the objects they saw through the telescopes at YMCA
Camp Eberhart. Also see the Telescope View
and the Tracking Sunspots
toys, including paper rocket, made of paper by Georg Egger is added to
Links page and Salad
Spinner Zoetrope activity. See http://web.inter.nl.net/users/anima/optical/zoetrope/index.htm.
||Observers in the South Bend, IN, area can witness
the total lunar eclipse at a family outing.
The web page contains a list of related paper plate activities, charts,
||Gene Zajac and Chuck Bueter are awarded a PLATO
grant to conduct a workshop at the the 2003 GLPA Conference in October to
demonstrate how to make and use modified and economy versions of the
Sun Gun, a device for viewing the sun by rear projection.
||The 2003 Dixie®
Art of the Plate contest generated terrific artwork for paper plate
designs--thousands of entries were submitted. You can view the paper
plate artwork at http://www.gp.com/artoftheplate/gallery.html.
Site is added to Links page.
||Adapted tables indicate the scale of the solar
system in the Dynamic Solar System
activity and the Plateful of Planets
activity. A few missing digits were found and corrected.
||A simplified Rainbow
Finder II activity is a fun way to make a free-standing rainbow that
helps you find those colorful arcs on a sunny, rainy day. This new
activity combines the Rainbow Turntable
and the Rainbow Finder I.
||A typo was corrected to state the transit of
Venus is on June 8, 2004. Also, the transit FAQ was modified, for it
erroneously suggested the transit is visible for about 50 minutes from all
North American locations that see the event. Thank you, Geoff Stray
and Walter Nissen, for pointing out the shortcomings, respectively.
||A 2003 Toyota TAPESTRY grant has been
awarded to establish a clearinghouse for transit of Venus
resources through the Paper Plate Education website. The diverse
materials, to appear here as they are developed, will support multiple users, including teachers, planetarians, librarians, and other
kindly gives Paper Plate Education its seal "For Extraordinary Effort."
||Fresh batch of bad moons taken from children's
picture books are uploaded to More
Faux Phases II page.
||Images show students making and using Paper
magazine lists Paper Plate Education among the "Sites You'll
Like" in Robert Moritz's Gadget Guide column.
||Paper Plate Education is selected as the
"Site of the Week" by EduNET Choice Award
for the week beginning Monday, January 20, 2003. Thank you, EduNET.
||Links for the transit
of Venus have been moved to www.transitofvenus.org,
a new website that will be a clearinghouse for transit-related
material. The extensive list of annotated links are at http://www.transitofvenus.org.
||Thumbnail images for Bad
Moons Rising (with Comments) page now link to larger pictures.
(Thank you to readers who pointed out the broken links.) The
"story" column is complete for More
Faux Phases page.
||The new Lunar Eclipse
activity shows how two shadows--the umbra and the penumbra--can fall on
the moon during a lunar eclipse. Home plate updated.
||An article about Paper Plate Education appears in the
January issue of Voyages,
the NASA Office of Space Science Newsletter on Education and Public
||Upcoming Events entry added: Mars
at its closest
approach in thousands of years invites a Telescopic
View of the red planet.
||John Beach contributes text to accompany images of his geocentric
world demonstrator, a working instrument to illustrate the geocentric
system espoused by Ptolemy.
||Home plate updated with new
- Geocentric vs.
Heliocentric-make a model of Ptolemy's geocentric system from
stacked cake trays; contribute by John Beach;
Frequency-illustrate the strange periodicity of transits of
Venus in this recreation of a race between daughter Venus and mother
- Analemma--trace a figure-8 on a globe
using a Sub-Solar Cup;
- Flash Plate--practice math tables
more effectively with round cards.
||Paper Plate Education's 2003 copyright is
declared at the bottom of each page. Educators are still welcome to
reproduce the contents of this site for non-profit purposes. Other
uses require permission of the respective individuals who have contributed
the material. Feel free to contact us
if you have any questions. Thank you.
||Happy New Orbit-Around-the-Sun. We open 2003 with the Analemma
activity in which the sub-solar point is marked regularly throughout the
year to plot the figure-8 analemma on a globe. This variation on the
Sub-Solar Cup activity will continue for
one Orbit-Around-the-Sun until the December solstice.
Year 2002 (below)
||Astronomy author and illustrator Jay Ryan
clarified the circumstances
that create periodic transits (pairs of transits eight years apart
separated by over a century) in a 1996 article, now linked from the Transit
of Venus page with his permission.
||In planning large-scale education programs
around the transit of Venus, NASA seeks to touch over ten million people,
including over 20,000 teachers. A call for institutional partners,
excerpted from an AAS Bulletin abstract, is at the Transit
of Venus page.
||Transit of Venus is added to NASA
Space Science Portal as Paper Plate Education solicits supporting
material related to the June 8, 2004, event.
||Two holiday gift ideas--the Goodnight Moon
book and the Paper Plate Astronomy videotape--are suggested with
purpose at the Upcoming Events-Winter 2002
page. See how to receive the video in time for the holidays.
||New Flash Plate
activity is patterned after intriguing research that suggests young
learners fare better with round flash plates instead of the familiar
rectangular flash cards. Build a stack of cards on paper plates.
- Photographic plates
from the US Naval Observatory Library showing the 1882 transit of
Venus are linked from the Transit
of Venus page.
- Several other websites are added as Transit
of Venus links, including an explanation of the "black
drop" effect, background on determining the sun-earth distance,
an image of Capt. James Cook's view of inner contact, a tutorial on
the math of parallax, an explanation about the frequency of Venus
transits, and information on NASA's Kepler mission to find
inhabitable planets by tracking extrasolar planetary transits.
||Celebrate Thanksgiving with these links to an
arts and crafts Turkey activity.
||A new Bad
Moon Rising sent in by Tim Lyster is added to More
- Upcoming Events and
Home Plate tweaked.
- Track the space shuttle as it chases the
International Space Station for a crew change and delivery of an ISS
Performance Report gives general summary of AFTAPP
of Venus activity tracks the path of the Venus' disk across the
surface of the sun during this June 8, 2004, celestial highlight.
of Venus introduction page modified; 2002 GLPA Conference poster text
uploaded; transit of Venus links added.
of Venus introduction added to Site Map.
page lists references for papers and posters relating to paper plate
activities, from 1992 to present; is added to Site
||Single images are added to the Dynamic
Solar System activity and the Orbit
||Twenty four images of More
Faux Phases are added to support the Bad
Moons Rising activity.
Southern Observatory is coordinating an observing program for the Transit
text from Bad Moons Rising is
reprinted from the GLPA Proceedings, 1997, p. 161.
||Over two dozen books with More
Faux Phases portray bad moons rising. Do you have some to add?
||Minor shuffles: Full
Circle and Bad Moons Rising
added to Site Map page; Griffith
Observatory listing added to Links page.
||A picture of Clyde Simpson is
added to the Tracking Sunspots
||A link to solar system scale
models is added to the Plateful
of Planets and Dynamic Solar System
||Children's books often depict
moon phases in error. See if you can spot the mistakes at the new Bad
Moons Rising activity. Meanwhile, what classic children's book
is illustrated with an eye toward astronomical integrity? The new Good(night)
Moons Rising activity offers a hint.
||The numbers are out. Our
website server reports Paper Plate Education is being visited by over 600
distinct visitors per day, who access over 20,000 html and image files per
day! Thank you for your support. We welcome your feedback
||A rare Transit of Venus occurs
June 8, 2004. This spectacle has not been witnessed by any human now
alive. A poster at the 2002 GLPA Annual Conference includes
images and links.
||The Perseid meteor shower yields
obvious patterns on three plates
recorded during the 2002 summer event. Perseids and sporadic meteors
alike are displayed, illustrating the radiant.
||Some fun folks at BobStaake.com
consider Paper Plate Education a Way Cool Site.
||Paper Plate Education appeared as
a poster at the International Planetarium Society (IPS) Conference.
See the poster displayed at Wichita.
||Make a planisphere using a CD. Added to
the Links page is the Celestial
Dome Planisphere by Ken Wilson of the Science Museum of Virginia.
||Forty new images of AFTAPP participants creating their tiles
and making Platispheres are added to the AFTAPP
||The Meteor Shower activity
suggests how observers can track the paths of the Perseid meteors on a
paper plate starfield to illustrate the meteor shower's radiant.
||Happy Fourth of July, USA. Celebrate on the dew of
cool grass or in the steam of a hot tub. The Hot
Tub Astronomy page suggests some observing activities that hold up
well to moisture.
||Paper Plate Education will exhibit
a poster at the 16th International Planetarium Society Conference in
Wichita, KS, July 29-August 1, 2002.
Tracking Dish highlighted on Upcoming Events
as Dr. Peggy Whitson begins a 4-plus month stint aboard the International
||A separate Awards
page allows us to blow our horn so it sounds like music, not
|| To accommodate growth, Site Map
outlines the variety of website components; number of navigation buttons
||The ultimate paper plate instrument, the Plate-a-tarium,
depicts features of the celestial
sphere such as the celestial equator and ecliptic;
indicates real time positions of the planets and the zodiac in both
azimuth and altitude; and illustrates rising
and setting position of the sun and planets for any given date.
||Paper Plate Activities Elsewhere
offers links to more activities found off-site yet on the Internet.
||Text and images (excerpted from the Paper Plate Astronomy
videotape) are added:
||This page entitled "What's New?" debuts.
||Anne K. Brown contributes Physical
||Text-only narration for
the Paper Plate Astronomy videotape is added.
||USA Today prints the Paper Plate Education
website among its "newsworthy sites."
||USA Today designates the Paper Plate Education
website a "HOT SITE." See the bottom of the Home
||Yahoo! designates the Paper Plate Education
website a "Pick of the Week." See the bottom of the Home
||Comet Ikeya-Zhang inspires list of comet
||A multitude of upgrades and highlights appear in a temporary
"New Features" table, below:
||Witness current celestial events and prepare for upcoming
sky highlights with paper plate materials. Enjoy a
spectacular viewing opportunity as the planets gather for a Spring Dance
in April and May, 2002.
||Recent additions include Constellation
Projector, Drinking Gourd II,
Feynman Diagrams, Geocentric
vs. Heliocentric, Lunar Surface,
Sundial IV, and a list of proposed activities.
||In creating exquisite art, Bradford Hansen-Smith advocates
the geometric elegance of the circle. Currently available only as
a 590 KB MSWord document (.doc).
||AFTAPP program fuses star lore, urban stargazing, and
modern astronomy as the foundation for an art project. The teacher
workshop is funded by an IDEAS grant of the Space Telescope Science
||Pictures of paper plate enthusiasts in action.
||Star charts show
locations of planets for the Science Olympics state competition.
||Star charts for
seasonal stars aid AFTAPP teachers.