First of all, thanks for finding out more about this project, we're really glad to have you here! There currently exists no observing journal fully accessible to students in middle school and above that targets the most common scientific misconceptions about the Sun and the Moon. We, Lauren Woolsey and Doug Ferrer, are incredibly excited to bring this project to life. When people think of amateur astronomy, they typically picture someone in some dark, remote location with an expensive telescope. But so much can be learned just from the two brightest objects in the sky--the Sun and Moon--with no equipment or training from anywhere in the world!
In A Year With Sun and Moon, readers will discover for themselves a number of surprising facts about astronomy and the solar system using only their own observations! Find answers to questions like:
What causes the Earth’s seasons?
Do you cast a shadow at noon?
Why does the length of a day change?
Can you see the Moon during the day?
Why does the Moon have phases?
A Year with Sun and Moon will teach readers how to do science, but it is not a textbook. Science is not a set of facts you memorize. It is a systematic way of answering questions. The only real way to learn science is to do it yourself! We will walk readers through gathering their own observations, making a model, and checking their own model against the data--actual science the way scientists do it! The best part is that readers will be able to do all of this without any need for special equipment, training, or advanced math. All you need are your eyes and the journal we’re writing just for you.
As stretch goals unlock and important information is posted in kickstarter updates, we will add more details to the bottom of this section.
Here's where we are at the start of this campaign: we have already made a list of the key observations that readers will make each week for the journal. These observations don't take a lot of time to do, but once you have a year's worth of weekly notes and sketches, you can learn an incredible amount by looking at the data! For example, you'll be able to tell exactly how the length of your shadow changes throughout the year (will it ever be missing at noon?):
We haven't yet written the introduction to the observations, the pre- and post-observations knowledge checks, or the step-by-step analysis that you'll do with the data you'll collect, because being graduate students is a full-time job! As soon as the kickstarter passes the $4,000 mark, though, we will begin to spend our evenings and weekends making this the best product possible, with plenty of time to get the books printed by the start of the summer, so we can be sure to get your rewards out to you by August and October.
Additionally, we've started talking with an artist, Marianna Burgett, to design the full-color cover of the journal and a couple of black and white images for inside. We aren't able to pay her until we know this project will be successful, but she has provided some rough sketches of some of the ideas for these. Again, as soon as we hit the $4,000 goal, we will pay her in full for the artwork and we can begin to update you here on her progress as the campaign continues. Here's a taste of the art so you can get a sense of the style we're going with:
We really can't do this without your support, so we hope you are as excited as we are to make this project come to life!
Lauren is a third-year graduate student in the astronomy department at Harvard University. She studies the effects of the Sun on the rest of the solar system, and is generally obsessed with anything Sun-related--just check out her blog! Lauren has extensive educational experience: she volunteers with Science Club for Girls, works with BUILD in Boston, and tutors with Cambridge Coaching. Her life’s mission is to share her knowledge and passion for science--and the Sun in particular--with the world. She will be writing the Sun part of A Year with Sun and Moon.
Doug is also a third-year graduate student in Harvard University’s astronomy department. He once worked as a researcher on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter searching for ice in the dark parts of lunar craters. He loves teaching and writing--especially when they help to get people interested in math and science. He'll be writing the Moon part of A Year with Sun and Moon!
Read more about us at cgsunit.com! Please note, this project and all projects by our company are not directly affiliated with nor endorsed by Harvard University.
--$8,000: Have you ever been told not to stare directly at the Sun? Our first stretch goal will change all of that: every book will come with a pair of awesome eclipse shades so you can look safely at the Sun!
--$16,000: If we hit our second stretch goal, we want to share the love with everybody! We’ll send stickers of the project to every backer at pledge levels of $16 or more, and even more importantly, we will donate a classroom set of books to Science Club for Girls for students in the astronomy curriculum.
--$32,000: The Sun and the Moon are accessible to everyone. We want to make this observing journal as accessible as possible, too! To that end, we will team up with an expert to provide us with a full translation into Spanish. This means we can open a new pledge level to provide a Spanish-language version of the journal.
--We’ll add new stretch goals as the above goals are reached. We’d love feedback from our backers with ideas that we can investigate. We can easily get the journal translated into German if there is enough interest. Let us know!
--$2 SATELLITE: We will send a thank you postcard to every single backer at this level and above, because we know that every little bit truly makes a difference. Thank you so much for funding this project and believing in us!
--$5 PLANET: The observing journal is set up to take observations once a week for a year, but if you want to take more observations than that, we will give all backers at this level and above a PDF of additional observation sheets (and the full observing journal as a PDF) that you can use as much as you want!
--$16 STAR: At this level, you get one copy of the observing journal with free shipping within the US (or add $14 for international shipping), signed by both authors.
--$30 SOLAR SYSTEM: Want to support us but don't need a copy of the journal? How about an awesome set of 12 greeting cards that feature Marianna's art of Sun and Moon? We'll add as-yet-to-be-determined greetings. Once we hit $4,000 we can share an update with the art and greetings put together by Marianna and the rest of the team.
--$42 TRIPLE SYSTEM: Team up with some friends and save! At this level, you can get three signed journals shipped to the same location within the US.
--$125 STAR CLUSTER: For bookstores, we want you to share our observing journal with your customers. We’ll send you 10 journals, and after the project completes, we’ll put you on a special list for major savings with future orders (add $50 for international shipping).
--$150 GALAXY: Okay, so a galaxy may have billions of stars instead of a few dozen, but we know that in a classroom, imagination is limitless. Back at this level to get 10 journals (maximum allowed by Kickstarter bulk quantities limit) sent to one address and a Skype interview between your class, and both of the authors, about science and science careers!
Please note: to pledge for multiple reward levels, please back at the highest level and include enough money in your pledge to cover all of the rewards you would like. e.g. If you would like the greeting card set AND an observation journal, please back at the SOLAR SYSTEM level but raise your pledge to $46. International backers, email us if you want to discuss reduced shipping costs for multiple rewards.
Risks and challenges
We’ve backed plenty of projects on kickstarter and we have seen how often projects hit unexpected delays. Learning from their mistakes, we have included a lot of buffer time in our timeline estimates. However, it’s always the things you can’t plan for that cause the most problems, and we hope you understand that delays can happen.
We’re using CreateSpace to print the book and we have used that system before without problems. We will ship all of the books to our office in one bulk shipment and then we will send the individual rewards to all backers. We're guessing that the last phase, packing up all of the rewards, will take the most time; we are prepared to bribe our fellow graduate students with pizza and beer to help with that process.
This is the first project that we’ve launched on kickstarter, so there may be a bit of a learning curve. We have done all our homework, though, and are prepared and excited for every part of this campaign!