Posts tagged ‘astronomy’

SOME IDEAS TO CHEW ON……

Ping Poo, the Astronomer: A strange discovery

Written by Pierre Moessinger

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Interesting essay of nine pages which presents a discussion of discoveries by Ping Poo, an ancient Chinese astronomer who lived during the Zhou Dynasty in China around 550 A.D. Ping Poo believed that stars held on to the sky like flies on a ceiling. His colleague Li Fu argued that they hung from the sky with strings. One day Ping Poo sees a red glow in his white jade ball. Following a dream, Ping is determined to journey to Mount Yugo to investigate. His friend Li decides to accompany him, When Ping disappears, some peers believe he was pursued by a dragon and drowned in the Yellow River; others theorized that he stole the elixir of immortality and fled to the moon in an effort to escape the anger of the gods. As time passed the two scholars were forgotten. Years later in 1830, two children Lou and Wang discover a linen bundle of paper inscribed with calligraphy. They turn it over to their father, a professor of ancient Chinese. Turns out to be the journals of Ping Poo in which he set forth the hypothesis that the earth is a sphere turning around on its own axis, the first astronomer to do so. At the end of the essay, Moessinger offers some questions for his readers to ponder and answer. As a footnote, the author briefly explains Piaget’s ideas and suggests this book as an introduction to philosophy for children.

Recommended for readers in the eight to thirteen age range, this book is an interesting way to introduce philosophical thought to middle grade children. While the historical backstory is certainly worthwhile, the audience for this book is geared toward the child who likes to apply critical thinking skills to her reading. Youngsters who are looking for a quick read will probably not find this book appealing. Best suited for readers in the ten and up age range.

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A NEW KIND OF FROZEN

P.T. And The Frozen Planet

Written by J. Tal

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Periscopulous Telescopulous (P.T.) is an astronomer who is looking through his telescope one night when he sees a strange pattern with the letter V in the sky. He determines that it is a distress call from the Planet Vee, a planet inhabited by kids. Once upon a time, these round kids with V shaped faces lived a carefree existence, dancing, singing, playing and having fun. Somehow, which is not explained in the story, P.T. finds a diary written by Doctor Starr who is the Dean of Problem Solving on Planet Cee, a planet of tiny robots, in which it is written that the President of Planet Cee had appointed Doctor Starr to help the kids on Planet Vee. When Doctor Starr and his assistant named Guy arrive on planet Vee in their spaceship, they discover that all the kids have been frozen. They take their research back home to work on a solution. How do the scientists figure out what happened to freeze the kids and can they bring them back to life?

Doctor Starr will eventually choose five kids to teach the kids on Planet Vee that a healthy mind and body is the secret to good living. Continuing his research, the doctor decides that he will bring his plan to planet Earth, where many children would benefit from his advice.

This tale targets children in the two through seven age group and is written in rhyme. I think it might have been just as effective if written in prose because the rhyme is sometimes forced. At just over fifty pages, the length of this story is a bit long for preschoolers though young children will enjoy the colorful illustrations of the characters and scenery of the planets. The message of combining good nutrition and proper exercise is much needed and presented in an enjoyable way for kids. I would especially recommend this book for children in the five to seven year age range.

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