Telescope Tripod Software

The fashion for cursive writing comes and goes. Many years ago all children were taught to write in an elaborate cursive script, requiring many hours of weekly practice to perfect. Over the years as other subjects began to crowd out handwriting lessons in the school curriculum this gradually gave way to teaching a basic print style of handwriting (ball and stick). Many people now believe that keyboarding skills are more important than good handwriting. Others believe that even computer keyboards will soon be defunct with speech recognition software becoming more popular.

However, many schools do still teach cursive writing. Traditionally schools teach children a simple print style of handwriting first, moving on to cursive at a later stage. This has the advantage that the initial letter shapes are less complex to write and most of them match the style of letters which children come across in their reading books. One disadvantage is that children spend many hours practicing one style of handwriting only to be told after two or three years that they now need to write in a completely different style. As any teacher or parent knows, it's very hard to get children to 'unlearn' well-established habits, whether it's thumb-sucking or a writing style.

A growing number of schools is teaching cursive letter formation right from the start. There are a number of advantages to this:

  • Children only have to learn one way to write letters so they get lots more practice in the desired style
  • Children are not taught 'bad' habits that they will have to unlearn later
  • Cursive letter shapes are more distinctive than print which reduces the chance of reversal mix-ups e.g. b/d
  • Cursive from the start is recommended by many dyslexia specialists
  • There is no messy transition stage to dent children's confidence as they progress from print to cursive

Children need to be given lots of opportunity to write. The first word most kids will want to write is their own name. Parents can help by providing a good handwriting model for children to trace over at first, then later to copy. One way is to write the child's name using a light color then the child can trace over it with a darker color.

Dotted letters are very effective for handwriting practice too. You can buy handwriting practice books but they won't be personalized for your child so you may want to consider getting a dotted font for your computer. Make sure you get the same style as your child is using at school to avoid making handwriting more complicated for them! It's easy to install a font on your computer and then you will be able to create name cards or type out a little story your child tells you. Once printed out the child can trace over the dotted letters.

Probably the most important point is to supervise children closely whenever they are writing. That way parents and teachers can ensure that the child has a good tripod pencil grip for control. Supervision should also ensure that children start each letter in the right place and move the pencil in the right direction. Getting the letter formation correct is much more important than neatness in the early stages. If children get into the habit of starting a letter in the wrong place or moving in the wrong direction, for example drawing the letter o in a clockwise direction instead of anti-clockwise, these habits will easily become ingrained and very hard to correct later.

You can find free handwriting worksheets here. If you would like to have a go at making your own handwriting worksheets, you can download a range of handwriting fonts for parents and teachers here. They're available for instant download and are self-installing on Windows PCs so that you can get started straight away.

Louise Atheling is an experienced family learning teacher.

I'm thinking of buying a telescope, but have no experience. will I be able to see the lunar rover left behind?

Here's what I found on best buy.
Bushnell - NorthStar 900mm Reflector Telescope:
45, 135, 225 and 675 power magnification
Go To computerized tracking technology locates and points the telescope to more than 20,000 celestial objects; software included
Red LED finderscope guides you to the objects highlighted by the hand-held remote with Real Voice Output (RVO)
900mm focal length
4mm and 20mm eyepieces
Power-boosting Barlow lens; 4.5" reflector
Kinematic mount
Camera adaptable
Quick release tripod; accessory tray.
I'm a nightowl and have always wanted to check out whatever part of the universe that's possible.
Will this scope be pretty good for checking out all the stuff in the galaxy?
They're asking $275 for the one listed above.

No, you will not see the Lunar Rover.
Even if the Hubble space telescope could stay fixed on the correct spot (the Moon moves too fast for the Hubble telescope), it cannot see objects that small.

With a 115 mm aperture (diameter of the primary mirror = 4.5" = 115 mm), the maximum useful magnification will be 2*115 = 230 x.
Anything higher will simply magnify the flaws.
In any event, you will probably enjoy it more at the lower magnfications.

The main power of a telescope is to gather light and concentrate it in your eye, allowing you to see objects that are much fainter than what you can see without the telescope.

The normal diameter of the eye is around 7 mm. Your telescope will be 115 mm. The amount of light gathered is proportional to the surface area (proportional to the square of the diameter.

(115 / 7)^2 = 270

You will be able to see that are only 1/270 of the brightness that your eye can normally see. This will give you (in theory) an added 6 magnitudes. From a dark spot (no light pollution) the average human eye can see down to 6th magnitude. With the telescope, you should reach 12th magnitude (the magnitude scale works like a ranking, with the "best" values at lower numbers: the student who ranks first is usually brighter than the student who ranks 12th).

With that telescope, you should be able to see and identify (without the GoTo) almost all of the "Messier" objects (named for Charles Messier, an astronomer from way back -- look him up on wikipedia). You should also be able to follow the satellites of Jupiter and you should be able to make out the rings of Saturn.

The GoTo will be useful once you learn how to use it. However, many old-timers insist that you should learn your way around the sky without it before relying blindly on it. Learn the constellations and do try to find objects by "star-hopping" from a known object. In this way, you will learn your way around the sky and you will become much more rapidly familiar with how your telescope works.

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