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NOAO Newsletter - NOAO Educational Outreach - June 2000 - Number 62


Project ASTRO Thrives in Tucson

Ginny Beal

Project ASTRO-Tucson has recently received funding from the National Science Foundation Astronomy Division to support NOAO's leadership role of Project ASTRO for the next three years. Thanks to this good news, we can now announce that the fifth Project ASTRO-Tucson Annual Workshop will take place 13-14 October 2000 (see http://www.noao.edu/outreach/astro/ for updated information). A few slots at the fall 2000 workshop are reserved for astronomers from outside Arizona who want to attend the workshop, possibly with a teacher partner from their location. If this interests you, please contact Ginny Beal at (520) 318-8535 or gbeal@noao.edu for details.

Project ASTRO-Tucson is an education enhancement program that includes a workshop for teacher and astronomer partners who learn to integrate inquiry through astronomy into science curriculum in grades 4-9 in Arizona schools. The project's emphasis is on a hands-on, activities-based approach to learning that excites students about astronomy and helps them learn the process of science. The NSF grant will be used to support workshops and coordination of Project ASTRO in Tucson.

NOAO-Tucson was selected as the first Chair of the National Project ASTRO Network and hosted the annual Site Leaders' Meeting April 27-29 in Tucson. Representatives from all eleven ASTRO sites around the country attended this meeting. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, founder of Project ASTRO, is no longer funding expansion sites, including Tucson. NOAO-Tucson will step forward to lead the National Network during the first year of autonomy.

Caption: Project ASTRO National Network Site Leaders enjoy annual meeting and Tucson sun. Front row: A. Gallagher, Hayden Planetarium; W. van der Veen, Columbia; R. Harnden, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA); S. Lalor, Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP); K. Peterson, Washington. Middle Row: A. Fraknoi, ASP; G. Beal, NOAO; D. Herbst, Wesleyan; J. Murdock, Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI); E. Howson, ASP; S. Jacoby, NOAO; C. Clemens, CFA; Back Row: S. Jarvis, Clark Foundation; G. Paulin, Tucson Unified School District; L. Cooper, OAI; V. Wiggins, The Space Center; B. Wunar, Adler Planetarium; R. Cox, Hansen Planetarium; J. Dobek, NW Michigan College; W. Sullivan, Washington.

The Space Telescope Science Institute IDEAS Program has awarded the NOAO Educational Group nearly $20K to work with authors Joni Chancer and Gina Rester-Zodrow, incorporating ideas from their book Moon Journals: Inquiry, Writing, and Art through Focused Nature Study into our Project ASTRO workshop. These ideas were explored at last year's workshop and now will be extended to better integrate astronomy, inquiry, writing, and art. The October ASTRO workshop will feature the Moon Journals authors, observing time on Kitt Peak with the Visitor Center 16" telescope, and Tohono O'odham storyteller Danny Lopez, all within the context of observing and understanding the Moon.


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