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Planetary sciences can be used to introduce students to the natural world which is a part of their lives. Even children in an urban environment are aware of such phenomena as day and night, shadows, and the seasons. It is a science that transcends cultures, has been prominent in the news in recent years, and can generate excitement in young minds as no other science can. It also provides a useful tool for understanding other sciences and mathematics, and for developing problem solving skills which are important in our technological world. However, only 15 percent of elementary school teachers feel very well qualified to teach earth/space science, while better than 80\% feel well qualified to teach reading; many teachers avoid teaching science; very little time is actually spent teaching science in the elementary school: 19 minutes per day in K--3 and 38 minutes per day in 4--6. While very little science is taught in elementary and middle school, earth/space science is taught at the elementary level in less than half\/ of the states. Therefore in order to teach earth/space science to our youth, we must empower our teachers, making them familiar and comfortable with existing materials.
Tucson has another, but not unique, problem. The largest public school district, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), provides a neighborhood school system enhanced with magnet, bilingual and special needs schools for a school population of 57,000 students that is 4.1\% Native American, 6.0\% Black, and 36.0\% Hispanic (1991). This makes TUSD and the other school districts in and around Tucson ideal for a program that reaches students of diverse ethnic backgrounds. However, few space sciences materials exist in Spanish; most materials could not be used effectively in the classroom.
To address this\/ issue, we have translated NASA materials into Spanish and are conducting a series of workshops for bilingual classroom teachers. We will discuss in detail our bilingual classroom workshops and how they address the needs of elementary school teachers in Arizona.
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