AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 70. Astronomy and Education
Display, Wednesday, June 2, 1999, 10:00am-6:30pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[70.13] Bringing Astronomy to the Classroom: A Model for Planting Seeds of Interest

K.G. Stassun (University of Wisconsin), J. Lattis (UW-Madison Space Place)

We present a low-cost, field-tested model for astronomy and space-related outreach aimed at minority and under-serviced populations at the middle-school and high-school levels. The model centers around the creation of an extracurricular astronomy ``club" at a middle school or high school, and an in-service training activity for teachers who will serve as club leaders. Students in the club engage in two hands-on activities: telescope-building and model rocketry. Implementation of the model requires a time investment of 1--2 hours per week over the course of one school year.

The primary end products are (1) an ongoing extracurricular school club with trained teacher-leaders, (2) a set of portable Dobsonian telescopes for night-time sky-viewing sessions performed by the club as a service to the community, and (3) basic materials for continued model-rocketry activities. In its ideal implementation, the model brings together teachers and amateur astronomers in a lasting partnership. A specific example for funding an outreach program based on this model is presented.

This outreach development was funded by a Special Initiatives outreach grant from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, and by the UW-Madison College Access Program. Additional support was provided by Madison's organization of amateur astronomers, the Madison Astronomical Society.

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