Project Astro in Tucson

Astronomers and Teachers as Partners for Learning

A program to match 4th-9th grade teachers with amateur and professional astronomers in Tucson Area schools and community organizations.

Join a coalition of local astronomy resources including The University of Arizona: Steward Observatory, Lunar and Planetary Lab, and Flandrau Science Center; Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association; Smithsonian Institute: Whipple Observatory; Mt. Graham Base Camp: Discovery Park; and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO): Kitt Peak National Observatory,National Solar Observatory, and U.S. Gemini Program.

In this innovative project,developed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), 25 fourth to ninth grade teachers and youth educators from around the Tucson Area will be paired with visiting v olunteer astronomers who have an interest in working with local schools and community organizations. Together, teachers and partner astronomers will participate in a hands-on training workshop, receive astronomy resource materials, and develop a strategy for working together in and out of the classroom. The goal of the project is to form ongoing partnerships.

Teachers and Youth Educators should have an interest in teaching astronomy and hands-on science but do not need to have astronomy experience to participate.

Partnerships will involve more than just one-time visits. Astronomers and teachers commit to at least four school year visits. These may include hands-on activities, evening observing sessions, creating an astronomy club, going on field trips, doing science fair projects, and more!

Project ASTRO, developed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific as a 3-year pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area, is now expanding to several new sites around the country with support of the National Science Foundation and NASA.

Project ASTRO experiences:

  • Be matched with a volunteer astronomer from your local area and together plan visits for the school year
  • Learn how to use astronomy and space science activities to engage and motivate students
  • Attend a 2-day, hands-on astronomy workshop.
  • Become part of a growing network of Project ASTRO partners and join in school-year workshops and events
  • Receive follow-up support and assistance from Project ASTRO staff
  • Receive helpful materials and activities:
    • The Universe at Your Fingertips: An Astronomy Activity and Resource Notebook
    • Tips addressing students' misconceptions and learning styles
    • Astronomy background materials
    • Resource lists
    • Materials for hands-on activities

Project ASTRO teachers commit to:

  • Attend a two-day training workshop
  • Teach astronomy, either as a unit or throughout the year
  • Arrange a minimum of four visits by a local astronomer during the next school year
  • Obtain the support of their school or district administrator, or Executive Director
  • Help evaluate Project ASTRO activities and project materials (through collecting student work and participating in interviews, surveys, focus groups, and site visits)

Project ASTRO'S goals are to:

  • Enhance astronomy and science education in schools and community organizations
  • Encourage on-going partnerships between teachers and visiting astronomers
  • Offer training for teachers and astronomers in the use of hands-on astronomy materials with students
  • Provide activities and resources that reflect science education reform goals and strategies
  • Assess the best ways for astronomers and teachers to work together

Project ASTRO teacher selection will be based on:

  • Interest in astronomy education (experience in astronomy is NOT necessary) and commitment to teach astronomy during the school year
  • Commitment to work in partnership with a volunteer astronomer
  • Interest in and experience with hands-on science
  • Support from school or district administrator or Executive Director to participate in the project
  • The availability of a volunteer astronomer in the teacher's area
  • Ethnic and gender diversity among students, teachers, youth educators, and astronomers
  • Balanced representation of grade levels and geographic areas

Teams of two from the same school or district are welcome to apply. All teachers must submit an application form.

Important Note:

Partnerships work best when astronomers work with a limited number of students. This allows students to develop a personal relationship with "their" astronomer, and places less of a burden on astronomers who take time off from work to participate in Project ASTRO. For this reason, plan that the astronomers will visit no more than two self-contained elementary classrooms (2 teachers), two middle/high school science class periods (1-2 teachers), or one science club. During the workshop we will give you ideas about how to involve more students.

Application Materials for 2002 workshop are available via:

Teacher Application Form [66 KB pdf file]

or Writing:
Project ASTRO, Teacher Applications
NOAO Educational Outreach Office
P.O. Box 26732
Tucson, AZ 85726-6732
FAX (520) 318-8360

or Contacting:
Connie Walker, Project ASTRO-Tucson Coordinator
(520) 318-8535

Return to Project Astro-Tucson.

NSF logo

NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

Page created and maintained by

AURA, Inc. logo