AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 10. Telescopes and Observatories for Education and Outreach
Poster, Monday, January 6, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[10.07] McDonald Observatory Visitor Center Education Programs

M. K. Hemenway, B. J. Armosky, M. Wetzel, S. Preston (McDonald Obs, UTx-Austin)

The opening of the new Visitor Center at McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas provided an opportunity to greatly expand the Observatory’s outreach efforts to students and teachers. In addition to a theater, outdoor telescope park, and amphitheater, the facility contains a classroom and an exhibit entitled ``Decoding Starlight." In preparation for the opening, new teacher-friendly materials were written to provide standards aligned (both state and national) classroom activities for students. These activities form the core for both the multi-day Professional Development Program for teachers and the Student Field Experience Program. Student Field Experiences often begin with a tour specifically designed for student groups to emphasize careers and life at the Observatory. The group then interacts with the exhibit using Exhibit Guides that were developed for various grade levels. When their schedule allows, student groups may also participate in nighttime observing activities. Smaller groups (under 30 members) may choose from a menu of hands-on activities offered within the classroom. The positive reception of these activities has led to their inclusion in the existing Elderhostel program for senior citizens.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of NSF 96-26965 ``Fingerprinting the Universe - An Interactive, Bilingual Exhibit on Spectroscopy," NSF 97-05340 ``Universo, Hispanic Heritage Month Programs, and StarDate in the Classroom," and NASA IDEAS HST-ED-90234-.01 ``Enriching the Experience at McDonald Observatory: Pre/Post Visit Materials for Teachers and Students."

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.mcdonaldobservatory.org. 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: marykay@astro.as.utexas.edu

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