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Andrew Alden

No Child Left Inside Day

By October 16, 2012

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Today is the part of Earth Science Week called "No Child Left Inside Day." The organization in charge of Earth Science Week, the American Geosciences Society, has a page with activities for today if you want to be formal about it. But I think that parents, homeschoolers and otherwise, may be able to do the best job on this day. The main point is to get outside and take some time to inspect the landscape. Not just bask in it, or drive through it to get somewhere else, but to actually stop somewhere and study it, underneath the woods and shrubbery. What makes the landscape beautiful? What are its different parts? What patterns are there to see? Do any more questions suggest themselves?

One activity that might be fun is to take a drive around and see which of the following landforms you can spot:
Erosional landforms
Depositional landforms
Tectonic landforms

The key to this activity is not so much to decide as to wonder. Science is a process of critical wonder, one in which quick decisions are very often wrong and long contemplation keeps yielding new insights and deeper questions. It is intellectually delicious, and I hope you and the children nearest you can give it a taste.

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