The best way to learn something is to try to explain it to someone else, at least that’s the theory behind the science newsletter “The Twilight Zone.” Catherine Garland’s astronomy classes have twice created a newsletter that informs its readers about the night sky. “The Twilight Zone” is the second edition of this newsletter. The first was titled “The Third Rock Gazette.”
The idea behind the newsletter was to teach students about astronomy by using scientific literacy techniques, Garland said in a recent interview.
“If you can write a newspaper article about something and other people read it and understand it, you understand it better” Garland said, explaining the rationale for the newsletter.
Students were graded on the scientific content, and not so much on the style and structure of the articles. Most of the students in Garland’s class were not science majors, but were simply trying to fulfill requirements for their chosen fields, she said.
To create the newsletter, the students set themselves up like a regular newspaper staff with one person in charge of getting everything organized and then other students taking on roles of writers, editors, photographers and ad directors. The students had a choice of what role they wanted to take on.
Victoria Belden, a student in the class that created “The Twilight Zone,” said she had a lot of fun working on the project and gained respect for the roles of people at real newspapers — especially layout editors — because she helped design the newsletter when everything was submitted.
Garland is hoping to have the science newsletter become a possible insert in The Spartan.
Belden likes the idea too.
“I would love to have that type of information on a regular basis. I can now look at the night sky and know what I’m looking at” said Belden.