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Earth and Space Sciences

Planetarium and Project ASTRO

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Earth and Space Sciences

207 Merion Science Center
720 S. Church Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2727

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Project ASTRO

Teachers... Wouldn't it be great if an astronomer visited your classroom several times a year, answered students' questions, and helped you meet the Pennsylvania science standards for astronomy and earth science?

Astronomers... Do you enjoy sharing your love of astronomy with others? Would you like to help local teachers open young minds to the beauty of the universe?

What is Project ASTRO?

Project ASTRO is a National Program that creates long-term partnerships between astronomers and teachers, or youth groups and community leaders. The philosophy behind Project ASTRO is that students learn best when using hands-on, inquiry-based activities in combination with a constructivist approach to teaching. The astronomer is a resource for the teacher both in and outside the classroom and provides students with the unique opportunity to have long-term interactions with a scientist.

How Does Project ASTRO Work?

Project ASTRO pairs K-12 teachers and youth group leaders with visiting volunteer astronomers who have an interest in working with local schools and community organizations. A partnership usually consists of one astronomer and one or two teachers at the same school.

What Training Will I Receive?

At the training workshop, teachers and their partner astronomers meet for the first time and are engaged in effective classroom hands-on astronomy activities that meet the Pennsylvania state science standards. All participants receive a copy of The Universe at Your Fingertips, a collection of over 90 hands-on activities for teaching the many aspects of astronomy. Partnerships also receive a variety of astronomy resources for use in the classroom. During the workshop, partners develop a strategy for working together, in and out of the classroom, and start planning their astronomy lessons and the astronomer's first visit. There is no cost to attend the workshop. Teachers may receive Act 48 credit for attending the workshop, if they wish.

How Does the Program Work During the School Year?

The astronomers commit to making at least four visits to the same one or two classrooms or youth groups. During these visits, they answer students' questions and lead or assist the teacher with astronomy activities. Examples of activities include the reason for the seasons, modeling the phases of the moon, making a scale model of our Solar System, observing the moons of Jupiter, making a comet and modeling the life cycle of the stars. Other visits may include going on field trips, creating an astronomy club or helping with science fair projects. Many partnerships organize evening stargazing parties during the school year, which are excellent opportunities to include parents and other classes in the school. Students and their families look through telescopes, locate the constellations, and share class projects.

For more information or application / volunteer forms contact:

Dr. Karen Schwarz
West Chester University
750 S. Church Street
Merion Science Center, Rm 207
West Chester, PA 19383

is Partly Funded by


PA Space Grant Consortium

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