Learning WITH Robert

December 13, 2013

Last Sunday, Robert, Jan, and I went to the Science Museum for a show Undiscovered worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun.  Our last trip to the planetarium a few weeks earlier left me with the impression that we, Robert’s parents, often do not acknowledge his maturity to the peril to his development. The previous show was about Big Bird exploring the universe and was geared toward preschoolers. Robert and we, his parents, survived an hour of cute but infantile entertainment. Nonetheless,  I left with very mixed feeling.  That was why, when I was purchasing tickets on line, the only criterion I used for choosing the show was the information about appropriate age.  This show was recommended for grades 5 to 12 and adult.

It was a beautiful show, filled with artistic images of the extrasolar planets.  Somehow in the past, the discoveries of the planets beyond our solar system, didn’t register too strongly in my brain. The news of such discoveries taking place in the last 18 years passed quickly through my brain without allowing me to understand the gravity of this scientific achievement and the serious consequences to well… human kind.

Now, I had 40 minutes to enjoy the mixture of science and artistry conspiring to help the viewers digest the slowly unfolding mystery of the universe.

I was amazed. More importantly, my husband and Robert seemed to be as transfixed as I was.

I did not need to direct Robert’s attention toward the dome, as I had to during Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky. I did not need to do really anything to keep Robert engaged in the presentation, as it had been the case during our trips to movie theaters.

Of course, the teacher in me, forced me to whisper a few times this new word “exoplanet” to Robert.  But that tells more about my anxiety than about Robert’s needs.

We were all learning TOGETHER by absorbing not only the thrilling existence of extrasolar planets but also about the power of the scientists who kept discovering them, and the mastery of artists able to present them to us in this highly mesmerizing way.

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