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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[53.02] Explorations in Radio Astronomy for High School Students

J. Bridger (NRAO (RET))

Few educational resources in Radio Astronomy are aimed at a high school audience. This rich field, however, utilizes several areas of physics studied at the secondary level, from interference and electromagnetism to relativity and geometry. During the summer, J. Bridger developed a series of web-based projects and hands-on explorations specifically targeted at secondary students. In addition, these projects were adapted into designs for exhibits for a modern visitor center at the Very Large Array.

The projects developed emphasize interactive, exploratory investigation as a means to conceptual understanding. Multi-antenna interferometry is modeled using microphones and parabolic dishes, and many astronomical phenomena (AGN and Gravitational Lensing) are simulated using simple inexpensive classroom materials. In addition, many projects were developed that enable students to use sky survey data to develop long-term original research projects, emphasizing the value of multi-wavelength observation.

The final project, developed as a web page, also includes sections on history, modern research and interferometry theory. The site will be accessible from the NRAO site and can serve as a general secondary resource for teachers wishing to incorporate a Radio Astronomy unit into their science curriculum.

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