An Arcing Contrail Against a Full Moon

At school, December has been a month of learning about the planets, stars, and light.  We have watched a video of the Atlantis Space Shuttle launch in 1985, and hoped to see the new James Webb telescope launch into space.  Unfortunately that has been delayed.

Just when we were filled with knowledge about the sky, we looked up last Friday evening on the playground to see a perfect arc.  Perfect.  It started against the full moon and ended on the opposite side of the sky.  It was a contrail, but unlike any I have seen.

Children were ‘star struck’.  Nothing is better than the real deal, looking up into the sky.  What a fitting finale to our December unit of study.  Eyes on STEM at its best.

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” 
– Carl Sagan-


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Learning About the World, Nature, Quotes, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to An Arcing Contrail Against a Full Moon

  1. the air must have been very still Jennie? Normally the atmosphere has wind moving up there that would dissipate contrails, but it must of been very still up there for that contrail to keep it’s shape.

  2. beth says:

    the universe conspired to make your lesson very real

  3. Dan Antion says:

    I love seeing contrails. Great capture.

  4. petespringerauthor says:

    Nothing quite like real-world learning opportunities.

  5. Ritu says:

    It’s wonderful to be able to use these real life moments as teachable ones!

  6. beetleypete says:

    Was that a firefly that appeared at the end of the video? Great to hear the kids’ excitement.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. That was a wow moment! I love the Carl Sagan quote.

  8. quiall says:

    To see the miracles of nature all we have to do is look up!

  9. Jim Borden says:

    that was a perfect way to end your lesson; talk about serendipity!

  10. That was an amazing teaching moment! 😀

  11. srbottch says:

    Wonderful! And a great quote by Sagen. Jennie, have you seen the ISS flyover? If not, you can sign up to get notices of flyovers in your area. Sometimes, it happens at convenient times and Nonna clear evening, it’s exciting to watch. It appears as a fast moving star.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Steve. No, I have not seen these flyovers. Oooo, how exciting! I will look into this. This floods me with Curbside Classroom memories. 🙂🙂

      • srbottch says:

        And who says you can’t teach an ol’ horse new tricks??? 😂. I believe that I use ‘Spot the Station’ from NASA. Gi find it. I can picture you having your class meet for an evening session to watch the ISS. “Who sees it? Who sees it? Good work, class!”😉

      • Jennie says:

        If only we could have a star gazing evening event at school with families, like our jack-o-lantern carving. Covid has stopped families from being able to come into school. So sad! Fingers crossed for next year.

      • srbottch says:

        The ISS will still be there. Go for it! Have a great day, Jennie.

      • Jennie says:

        You know I will, Steve!

      • srbottch says:

        Here’s what the notice looks, Jennie. It’ll be passing over here tomorrow morning…

        (SpotTheStation) Time: Thu Dec 23 6:26 AM, Visible: 5 min, Max Height: 40 degrees, Appears: WNW, Disappears: NE.

        Of course it’ll be snowing here so I’m SOL on seeing it. Besides, my hospital bed doesn’t have windows. Nothing serious, just a follow up to prostate surgery from 5 yrs ago. Going home tomorrow.

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you, Steve! I Have the website and will show the kids today. Take care of yourself, my friend. Merry Christmas!

  12. bosssybabe says:

    So fun to see children be delighted by nature’s beauty :). It reminds us how lucky we are and to be continually grateful! Charlotte also loves looking for the moon in the evenings, no matter where we go. ❤️

  13. Your order to the AirForce had arrived, Jennie! 😉 xx Michael

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I loved the sound track when I got to hear the kids.

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