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R. B. Culver, D. TeBockhorst, C. Radman, A. Geiselman (Discovery Science Center)
In 2004 the Science Discovery Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, with funding provided by the Space Telescope Science Institute of the NASA-IDEAS program, initiated the Rural Outreach Science Education Opportunities (ROSEO) project in which educational resources in astronomy and space science are to be made available to the rural areas of Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming which otherwise suffer from a limited access to the science education facilities that exist along the Colorado Front Range region as well as the limited resources available within these rural school districts themselves.
In one aspect of this outreach effort, a portable Starlab has travelled to several sites in the rural areas of Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming and has provided a planetarium simulation of the night sky in a regular on-site daytime classroom environment. To date several hundred students and over two dozen teachers spread out over some 25,000 square miles of rural Colorado and Wyoming have experienced these simulations. Even though the travelling schedule of the Starlab is operating in what is very much a preliminary mode, the response to these visits has nonetheless been quite enthusiastic.thus far.
In addition 18 science teachers representing 12 different schools from 8 different school districts in rural Colorado and Wyoming were brought together in a Summer Institute conducted June 6-10, 2005 at the Discovery Science Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, during which time innovative methods and techniques for presenting concepts in astronomy and space science that are especially designed for the needs and resources of the rural classroom environment were described and discussed in considerable detail.
The information and experience gleaned from the travelling Starlab and this year's Summer Institute are being galvanized into a preliminary version of an educational template which is ultimately intended to be a model for astronomy and space science education in other rural areas which find themselves in circumstances similiar to those in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming.
This work is funded by the Space Telescope Science Institute of the NASA-IDEAS grant program.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.