[Previous] | [Session 25] | [Next]
B. J. Buratti (Pomona College), J. D. Hillier (Grays Harbor College), Z. Medin (Caltech)
Teachers Touch the Sky (TTS) is a one week, inquiry-based hands-on workshop in astronomy for teachers in grades 3-10. In its seventh year, TTS was developed under the NASA IDEAS program, and it is now supported by an E/PO Planetary Geology supplement. Offering a comfortable approach to science, the workshop shows the teachers how to enable their students to become "mini-investigators". The week offers a combination of lectures by JPL scientists and engineers and experiments that the teachers practice for classroom use. Many of the experiments are derived from the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) series developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science of the University of California at Berkeley. This year the themes of the workshop were expanded to include two topics of current interest: Water on Mars and Astrobiology.
We make use of returning Master Teachers to assist the participants in curriculum development. The teachers perform a 4-page evaluation of the workshop which ranks their knowledge and confidence levels before and after the workshop. We improve the workshop in subsequent years based on the results of the evaluation. Their average scores in all categories increased about 35 percent. The overall score for the workshop was 4.9 on a scale of 1 to 5.