A Class for Teachers Featuring a NASA Satellite Mission

R. Battle, I. Hawkins

Bull. American Astron. Soc., 188, #81.05.

Abstract

As part of the NASA IDEA (Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy) program, the UC Berkeley Center for EUV Astrophysics (CEA) received a grant to develop a self-contained teacher professional development class featuring NASA's Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer\/ (EUVE\/) satellite mission. This class was offered in collaboration with the Physics/Astronomy Department and the Education Department of San Francisco State University during 1994, and in collaboration with the UCB Graduate School of Education in 1995 as an extension course. The class served as the foundation for the Science Education Program at CEA, providing valuable lessons and experience through a full year of intense collaboration with 50 teachers from the diverse school districts of the San Francisco Bay Area teaching in the 3rd--12th grade range. The underlying theme of the class focused on how scientists carry out research using a NASA satellite mission. Emphasis was given to problem-solving techniques, with specific examples taken from the pre- and post-launch stages of the EUVE\/ mission. The two, semester-long classes were hosted by the CEA, so the teachers spent an average of 4 hours/week during 17 weeks immersed in astrophysics, collaborating with astronomers, and working with colleagues from the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Graduate School of Education. The teachers were taught the computer skills and space astrophysics concepts needed to perform hands-on analysis and interpretation of the EUVE\/ satellite data and the optical identification program. As a final project, groups of teachers developed lesson plans based on NASA and other resources that they posted on the World Wide Web using \sc html. This project's model treats teachers as professionals, and allows them to collaborate with scientists and to hone their curriculum development skills, an important aspect of their professional growth. We will summarize class highlights and showcase teacher-developed lesson plans. A detailed evaluation report will be made available. We acknowledge NASA contracts NAS5-30180 and NAS5-29298 to CEA/UCB and NASA grant ED-90033.01-94A to SSL/UCB.

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