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Session 39 - Astronomy Education.
Display session, Tuesday, June 09
Atlas Ballroom,

[39.02] Project ASTRO: Local Coalitions for Bringing Astronomers to 4th - 9th Grade Classrooms

A. Fraknoi (A.S.P. and Foothill Coll.)

We report on Project ASTRO, an NSF and NASA funded program that now links professional and amateur astronomers with local 4th through 9th grade teachers in 10 sites around the country. Each site matches and trains about 20-25 astronomer-teacher partnerships per year, focusing on hands-on, age-appropriate activities, demonstrations of the scientific method, as well as family and community outreach. Over 10,000 copies of the project's 813-page UNIVERSE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS resource and activity notebook (published by the A.S.P) are now in use in educational institututions around the world. The project's HOW-TO-MANUAL is being used as a practical guide to establishing astronomer-teacher partnerships where no formal ASTRO site exists, and a 12-minute video explaining and demonstrating the project is also available.

In each of the ten sites, a coalition of educational and scientific institutions is assisting the project with in-kind donations, publicity, personnel, training, materials, etc. We are conducting an experiment (at the behest of NSF) to see to what degree the sites can become self-supporting over time. (One site, in Salt Lake City, has already received full funding from a local foundation.)

We will discuss the progress of the project and will have a variety of sample materials available, including our annotated catalog of national astronomy and space science education projects (see associated URL).

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