This is one of those amazing pieces of equipment that everybody loves. It’s a very simple model of the moon, sun and earth. There are two moon so that you can see how the sun would create eclipses. It uses gears and chains to accomplish this.
In a world filled with computer models, when I pull this model off the shelf to show the students, I get instant attention. They love this thing! It took me a long time to realize why. We, as a human race, love to touch stuff. Our biggest organ is the skin and we love to put it to work. The students love the fact that this is an actual piece of equipment and they can make the world move. Once I realized this, my job changed. I am a computer person. I love having a laptop with EVERYTHING on it. But the touch isn’t there. The touch comes from doing a lab. It comes from handling a specimen or a chemical. Touch can make us know something that reading or hearing about just doesn’t cover.
The same goes for books vs. ibooks. I just got a iPad and I haven’t yet read a book on it (although I’ve downloaded a few). Why? I like to hold a book. I like the smell of a book. Will I read on the iPad? Definitely. However, there is comfort in the touch.
Must be why I hate museums. “Don’t touch the painting. Don’t grab David’s schlong.” Stupid museums.