A Successful 2 Year Astronomy Program for the Hatch, New Mexico School Teachers

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Session 29 -- Education
Oral presentation, Monday, 9, 1995, 10:00am - 11:30am

[29.03] A Successful 2 Year Astronomy Program for the Hatch, New Mexico School Teachers

K. Marvel (NRAO and NMSU), J. Burns (NMSU)

We report on a recently completed two year outreach program to the Hatch, New Mexico middle and elementary school science teachers. Our project was funded in part by a NASA Education Grant Supplement. In August 1992, we organized an intensive 2 day educational workshop with 10 science teachers. During this workshop we mixed hands-on experimentation and demonstrations with lecture sessions on basic astronomical concepts. We provided the teachers with over \$1000 dollars of educational equipment, including a small telescope. Throughout the following school year, we scheduled night time observing sessions, special lectures and field trips for the teachers' students.

The second year we selected 6 of the most motivated teachers and had them participate in a 4 day ``live-in'' astronomical research session at the Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot, New Mexico. During this session the teachers reduced real astronomical data, ``discovered'' stellar evolution, had tours of both APO and the National Solar Observatory and several lecture sessions on the evolution of stars. The main project of the workshop was construction of H-R diagrams for an open cluster and a globular cluster. The teachers measured magnitudes, calculated colors, constructed the H-R diagrams and compared their diagrams to theoretical cluster diagrams. They were quite surprised to find the significant difference between the two clusters, and happily discovered that the differences could be explained by a difference in age. We then had the teachers develop and write lesson plans appropriate for the grade level they teach. The lesson plans were to deal with the material they had learned during the 4 day workshop and focus on explanation of stellar evolution. We have made these lesson plans available to all science teachers in the southern New Mexico region by depositing them in the NASA Space Grant Consortium's teachers resource center.

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