AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 53. K-12 Astronomy Education and Public Outreach
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[53.06] Solar and Geomagnetic Investigations: High School Astronomy Unit Focusing on the Sun/Earth Connection

M. Altenhof (Marlborough High School), D. Berlin (Concord-Carlisle High School), P. Pratap, P. Erickson (MIT Haystack Observatory)

Solar and Geomagnetic Investigations is a self-contained 6 to 8 week integrated unit developed specifically for high school astronomy classes that focuses on the Sun-Earth Connection. It contains comprehensive subject matter relating to the electromagnetic spectrum, the Sun, and the effects of solar activity on the Earth. It also includes several student activities allowing hands-on experience with a small radio telescope. Students collect and analyze solar and geomagnetic data using a variety of techniques and equipment.

The unit products include a Student Booklet, a CD-ROM, and a Teacherís Edition. The Student Booklet includes background information and reading questions; topic activities; sunspot data collection and analysis; daily magnetometer data collection and correlation to on-line geomagnetic data; analysis of the solar flux data at 1415 MHz from Sagamore, Massachusetts; daily collection of solar flux data using the SRT (Small Radio Telescope) and correlation to Sagamore data; and a final project including all data, graphs, and analysis via directed questions. The Teacher Edition provides comprehensive support material for the unit and includes multiple PowerPoint presentations on waves and the electromagnetic spectrum, the Sun-Earth connection, and radio telescopes; review games and unique song reviews; suggestions for future study; blank data collection cards; and an analysis of the unitís alignment with the Massachusetts Science Curriculum Frameworks.

Solar and Geomagnetic Investigations was created under the NSF funded Research Experience for Teachers Program conducted at the MIT Haystack Observatory during the summer of 2002. The RET participants worked closely with research staff to develop this unit.

We will show examples of the unit material and describe the overall unit concepts. Sample student work will be presented as well.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.