HR: 1340h
AN: ED23A-1239    [Abstracts]
TI: My Teacher got a Trip to Kitt Peak Observatory, but all I got was This Lousy Data CD: Lessons Learned in Optimizing a Teacher Professional Development Program for Solar Research
AU: * Walker, C E
AF: National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
AU: Hill, F
AF: National Solar Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
AU: Plymate, C
AF: National Solar Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
AB: The solar project in "Teacher Leaders in Research-Based Science Education" program provides the opportunity for teachers to study the Sun with the world's largest solar telescope. This exciting program is designed for middle and high school science teachers with more than 5 years experience teaching science. Funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Teacher Retention and Renewal grant, teachers learn how to acquire astronomy data and support their students in conducting authentic astronomy research projects. In addition, the program enhances their skills as leaders and mentors for those science teachers new to the profession. The TLRBSE program includes: 1) A 14-week online distance learning program with an emphasis on spectroscopy and data imaging; 2) A 2-week in-residence workshop at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, including several nights of research observing at a world-class observatory; 3) A program of ongoing mentoring support for beginning teachers; and 4) Partial funding to attend a national NSTA meeting with the mentees; 5) A journal to publish student and teacher research results and 6) Access to ongoing research, via further observing runs or archival data. Various factors have played a part in the evolution of the solar project. It began as an activity that used sunspots to measure the solar rotation rate. Then it progressed to a comparison of active regions (e.g., the areas of sunspots) at various wavelengths, to measuring the splitting of infrared spectral lines due to strong magnetic fields in active regions, and to measuring the amount of polarization due to weak magnetic fields. Challenges were presented as the project evolved from an activity to a hands-on observing experience fully reflecting the scientific research process. Some of the issues and trade-offs we will discuss are hands-on observing experience vs. remote observing, archival data retrieval vs. talking data, and more vs. less scientific assistance in the project. Group dynamics among the teachers also played a significant role in determining the cohort's success in research. The move to accommodate a minimum in the solar cycle dictated a change in the scientific program. Cross-platform issues arose as the software reduction and analysis became more sophisticated. Future instrumentation and telescopes offered further changes in scientific goals. Factors beyond the preparation of the course and observing material, training of the teachers, maintaining the program and on-going support of the teachers will also be discussed. These aspects of the solar project will be highlighted as we continue to morph into an improved version of the project. The TLRBSE Program is funded by the National Science Foundation under ESI 0101982, funded through the AURA/NSF Cooperative Agreement AST-9613615. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
DE: 0805 Elementary and secondary education
DE: 0820 Curriculum and laboratory design
DE: 0830 Teacher training
DE: 0845 Instructional tools
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: Fall Meeting 2005