AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 47. Telescopes and Education
Display, Tuesday, June 4, 2002, 10:00am-6:30pm, SW Exhibit Hall

[Previous] | [Session 47] | [Next]

[47.02] Scopes for Schools: What do students know about light and mirrors?

K. Stassun, D. Fabian (University of Wisconsin), G. Brissenden (CDES), J. Lattis (University of Wisconsin)

The 'Scopes for Schools Project is an inquiry- and standards-based program that unites K-12 teachers, students, and professional astronomers to conduct outreach, curriculum development, and teacher professional development in astronomy. The main activities of S4S ('Scopes for Schools) are a teacher professional development workshop to increase teachers' astronomy content and pedagogical content knowledge, provide modeled curriculum activities, and the physical materials needed for doing astronomy in the classroom. We then build low-cost, high-quaility Dobsonian telescopes in the classroom with the students supplemented with fun, collaborative, inquiry-based astronomy activities. Finally, we help support the new teacher partners by assisting with star parties and astronomy club development.

Previously, the curriculum development aspects of S4S have focused on post-telescope building activities, but in an attempt to provide a clear understanding of the optical properties of a telescope, we have developed an activity that explores how light interacts with a bare mirror. By grades 6-8, we have observed strongly held alternative conceptions about sight, the nature of light, and its interaction with reflective surfaces. We specifically and rigorously address this problem and the Benchmark ``Something can be "seen" when light waves emitted or reflected by it enter the eye-just as something can be "heard" when sound waves from it enter the ear.'' (Project 2061) with an activity that encourages students to manipulate a mirror and a light source to discover how images are formed. Students also gain experience with multiple variables in an experiment and the idea that it may not be possible to prevent outside factors from influencing the experiment. We discuss how this ``mirror activity'' relates to the cognitive development of students, the standards, and the greater S4S project.

The 'Scopes for Schools Project has recieved funding from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium and a Chandra EPO grant.

[Previous] | [Session 47] | [Next]

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