Testimonials from Professionals
I am writing in full support of Julia Brodsky’s online astrobiology course Art of Inquiry.
I am a planetary scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. I have multiple astrobiological projects and I believe that Astrobiology is perfect to open and inspire young minds to study science. Astrobiology is incredibly broad and diverse. Habitability of exoplanets, prospects of life on Mars and Europa, synthesis of biomolecules in comets, evolution of the ancient life on Earth, mass-extinctions, Snowball glaciations … - all these fascinating topics are studied under NASA's Astrobiology program. Introducing such unresolved mysteries to kids would show young students that science is “cool” (or “rad” as my son calls it) and just might be enough for some to start a long journey to become a next generation scientist or engineer.
At a young age it is incredibly important to learn how to ask big questions, how not to be afraid of the unknown, how to pursue a problem when there are no prepared answers. Specific knowledge and techniques will come later. In my case as a kid I wanted to find aliens and I still want to find life on Mars and Europa. As I started working towards my interests I realized that I need knowledge in multiple disciplines - physics, chemistry, biology. At that time Astrobiology was not defined as a scientific discipline and it was a challenge for a student like myself because biologists did not talk to space physicists, geologists did not see the need to learn about planets etc. Astrobiology program changed all of that. Scientists of different disciplines are talking and multidisciplinary research is encouraged. It would be beneficial if we show this type of collaboration to younger students because interdisciplinary research efforts become a new norm in modern sciences.
Dr. Alexander Pavlov
Planetary Studies, AST, NASA/GSFC
Julia is an inspirational teacher full of joy and enthusiasm for her subject. Last year she brought her program to our sixth grade students. Students enjoyed the surprise of realizing that sometimes there can be more than one answer to a problem or more than one approach to finding solutions. Julia’s modeling of how to think about challenging problems helped the students drop their preconceptions and gave them the freedom to experiment and innovate. I enthusiastically recommend this program to educational institutions or individuals who want to foster in their students deeper thinking skills and confidence in their ability to face intellectual challenges.
Middle School Teacher and Director of Student Affairs
In her book, author Julia Brodsky is offering a treasure trove for home-schoolers, math-club facilitators, and -- wishful thinking! -- mathematics teachers galore, at large, anywhere and everywhere. Studded with wisdom of the pedagogical ages, and framed by a coherent-cum-practical educational vision that could come only from a deeply reflective and exhaustively experienced practitioner in the studio and field - one who has fielded all the "what should we dos," "what ifs", and "buts" - Brodsky presents a compendium of charming, accessible, just-add-water activities, in which less is more, delight trumps drill, and engagement, empowerment, and exuberance prevail.
Associate Professor of Cognition and Development, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
What I loved about Julia’s book, " Bright, Brave, Open Minds", is that it gave me a chance to impart so much more than information to my children - I soon understood that the underlying purpose was not necessary the mastery of facts, but an opportunity to teach them how to think, that it is acceptable to be wrong, and that sometimes there is more than one answer to the problem.
owner of GatheringInk, co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool, journalist and a homeschooling mom