AAS 197, January 2001
Session 87. Innovations in Teaching Astronomy II
Joint Display, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[87.24] DOING Astronomy Research in High Schools.

M. A. Nook (St. Cloud State University), D. L. Williams (St. Cloud Apollo High School)

A collaboration between six science teachers at five central Minnesota high schools and astronomers at St. Cloud State University designed and implemented a program to involve high school students in active observational astronomy research. The emphasis of the program is to engage students and teachers in a research project that allows them to better understand the nature of scientific endeavor.

Small, computerized telescopes and CCD cameras make it possible for high schools to develop astronomical research programs where the process of science can be experienced first hand. Each school obtained an 8-inch or 10-inch computerized SCT and a CCD camera or SLR. Astronomers from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) trained the teachers in proper astronomical techniques, as well as helping to establish the goals and objectives of the research projects. Each high school instructor trained students in observing and data reduction techniques and served as the research director for their school's project. Student observations continued throughout the school year concluding in the spring, 2000. A Variable Star Symposium was held May 20, 2000 as a culminating event. Each student involved in the process was invited to attend and give a presentation on the results of their research on variable stars. The symposium included an invited talk by a professional astronomer, and student oral and poster presentations.

The research is continuing in all five of the original high schools. Eight additional schools have expressed interest in this program and are becoming involved in developing their research programs.

This work is supported by Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. and administered by the National Science Teachers Association through a 1999 Toyota TAPESTRY Grant and by St. Cloud State University and Independent School District 742, St. Cloud, MN.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: mnook@stcloudstate.edu

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