Students built a model of the results of the Let There Be Night experiment using over 35,000 LEGO blocks to represent the ideal night sky. From that 3D map, over 12,000 blocks had to be removed to represent the night sky lost to light pollution, according to over 3,400 student observations. The 3D model and display sign are exhibited at Discovery Middle School, left, October 12-16, 2009.
Parents and members of Horizon's Student Leadership Team trek out to the school grounds to quantify light pollution on March 23, 2009 (left) with hand-held Sky Quality Meters (SQMs). Many nights have been surprisingly clear, but the observations on cloudy nights such as this one are also valuable. Early student data suggest the sky glow is significantly brighter when it's overcast.
Discovery Students Featured on the News Articulate the Issues
Dozens of students in Mrs. O'Malley's science class created posters, slide presesentations, and models to support their verbal presentations about light pollution. A collection of photos at Flickr shows only a small sample of their handiwork.
On September 10, 2008, Discovery teachers prepare for LTBN at the first of two in-service sessions. The staff has also been participating in multiple PBA Day sessions at the planetarium. The support of teachers is paramount to the success of this community-wide science experiment.
Mr. Braunsdorf writes, "I had students visit the website. I also had them use a piece of tin foil to shield a light bulb and play around with where it focused the light while observing the intensity of the light. Then we discussed and made connections with what we learned from the experiment with what we learned from the website...Since students are not willing to stop using electricity, they agree that conserving and finding alternatives would be the best solutions. Students brought up how lower watt bulbs could save taxpayer money as well as use less fossil fuels.
Later I gave students a choice of topics related to our study of energy. They were to write in response to one of the prompts (their choice). A huge percentage chose to write about light pollution."