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Session 4 - Education: Telescopes, the Web and Curricula.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
Exhibit Hall,

[4.13] Lesson Plans and Lessons Learned

J. A. Cliffe, L. A. Whitlock, P. T. Boyd, J. C. Lochner (NASA/GSFC), K. Granger (Buck Lodge Middle School)

For the past 18 months, responding to a growing demand by the public, the X-ray branch of the Laboratory for High- Energy Astrophysics has created a successful web-based education/outreach program aimed at K-12 students. The High- Energy Astrophysics Learning Center and StarChild were launched in 1996; since then the sites have also been put on CD-ROM and distributed to over ten thousand teachers nationwide.

In the Fall of 1997, the "High-Energy Astrophysics Learning Center" was reincarnated as "Imagine the Universe!". The changes were brought about for a number of reasons, such as to expand the scope outside X-ray and and gamma-ray astronomy, to remove a name that often intimidated potential users, and to implement an abundance of user feedback. We present the new Imagine the Universe! web site and the lessons learned from our experience in the education/ outreach arena.

Imagine the Universe! focuses on what scientists know about the structures in, and the evolution of, our Universe. It also investigates how scientists know these things, the remaining mysteries, and how answers might be found. At present, only the X-ray and gamma-ray approaches to these issues are active in the site. However, radio, microwave, infrared, ultraviolet, and cosmic ray information will be added over the next year.

In keeping with the trend in education to base curriculum on national standards, all of the science topics presented are listed with the national mathematics and science standards to which they relate. The same is true of the revamped Teacher's Corner and the growing list of lesson plans found there.

What works, what does not work, and the kind of feedback you get when you have a K-12 astronomy education web site will be presented.

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