AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 86 Education: NASA's Great Observatories
Poster, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[86.05] The Invisible Universe Online for Teachers – A SOFIA and SIRTF EPO Project

A. Gauthier (Steward Observatory), M. Bennett (ASP), S. Buxner (CAPER Team), E. Devore (SETI Institute), J. Keller (LPL), T. Slater (Steward Observatory), M. Thaller (JPL), Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) Team

The SOFIA and SIRTF EPO Programs have partnered with the Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) Team in designing, evaluating, and facilitating an online program for K-12 teachers to experience multiwavelength astronomy. An aggressive approach to online course design and delivery has resulted in a highly successful learning experience for teacher-participants. Important aspects of the Invisible Universe Online will eventually be used as a part of SOFIA’s Airborne Ambassadors Program for pre-flight training of educators.

The Invisible Universe Online is delivered via WebCT through the Montana State University National Teacher Enhancement Network (http://btc.montana.edu/). Currently in its fourth semester, the course has served 115 K-12 teachers. This distance learning online class presents our search for astronomical origins and provides an enhanced understanding of how astronomers use all energies of light to unfold the secrets of the universe. We cover the long chain of events from the birth of the universe through the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets by focusing on the scientific questions, technological challenges, and space missions pursuing this search for origins.

Through textbook and internet readings, inquiry exploration with interactive java applets, and asynchronous discussions, we help our students achieve the following course goals: develop scientific background knowledge of astronomical objects and phenomena at multiple wavelengths; understand contemporary scientific research questions related to how galaxies formed in the early universe and how stars and planetary systems form and evolve; describe strategies and technologies for using non-visible wavelengths of EM radiation to study various phenomena; and integrate related issues of astronomical science and technology into K-12 classrooms.

This course is being developed, evaluated, and offered through the support of SOFIA and SIRTF EPO Programs, two NASA infrared missions associated with the Origins program.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://btc.montana.edu/ceres/origins. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ag2003@email.arizona.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.