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Education and Public Outreach Proposals Selected in Cycle 10

The Cycle 10 Chandra EPO Peer Review, conducted by the CXC, was held in Cambridge MA on Dec. 3-5, 2008. A panel representing science, education, museum, Forum, and NASA mission and management perspectives reviewed 10 proposals. Seven individual and 3 institutional proposals were submitted. Three individual and 2 institutional proposals were selected for funding. An overview of the selected proposals by type follows, alphabetically in order of PI last name.

Individual Proposals
  1. The Making of a Star and It's Entourage: A Planetarium Show About the Formation of Stars and Planetary Systems
    Science PI: Prof. Jeffrey S. Bary, Colgate University, (jbary@colgate.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Joe Eakin, Ho Tung Vizualization Lab, Colgate University
    Education Partner:Ho Tung Vizualization Lab, Colgate University


    In collaboration with a unique program at Colgate University which integrates the Vizualization Lab into course content, this proposal will recruit approximately 20 Colgate University undergraduates from a variety of academic specialities (music, theater, graphic arts & design, physics & astronomy, history) to participate in aspects of the production of a high-quality planetarium show that align with their areas of academic expertise. The content is related to the PI's research. Topics will include the nature of the scientific endeavor and modern discovery, the processes by which planetary systems form, and our conception of our place in the universe. This rural area of central New York is underserved by NASA resources and the show will be an introduction to NASA science for students from the local school districts, other Colgate undergraduates, and the general public. This show will be the inaugural product for the recently opened, state of the art visualization lab and sound studio, and full-dome planetarium theater equipped with Digistar 3 projector. The EPO Co-I is an experienced content devloper and oversees the Viz lab integration program. The show will be distributed to other planetaria.

  2. Black Holes - A New Penn State Professional Development Workshop for Science Teachers
    Science PI: Dr. William N. Brandt, Penn State University, (niel@astro.psu.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Dr. Christopher Palma, Penn State University, (cpalma@astro.psu.edu)
    Education Partner: Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium


    This proposal will fund the participation of teachers recruited from high poverty, underserved areas of both rural and urban Pennsylvania in a new professional development workshop focused on the topic of black holes. The workshop was developed based on focus group evaluations from participants of past workshops and the content was pilot tested abd revised. In addition to the workshop, teachers will be offered a more sustained, long-term experience through a series of follow-up teleconferences in the school year following their summmer participation. The workshop will utilize an available set of tested, standards-aligned NASA activities on black holes. The workshop is offered as a graduate credit-bearing course.

  3. Addressing the Nature of Science Through a Telescope Loaner Program for Teachers
    Science PI: Prof. Craig Sarazin, University of Virginia, (sarazin@virginia.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Dr. Edward Murphy, University of Virginia, (emurphy@virginia.edu)
    Education Partner: University of Virginia Astronomy Department


    The goal of this program is to address the nature of science, astronomy, and the space science components of the Virginia Standards of Learning through a telescope loaner program and associated educational materials for teachers. The proposal builds on an earlier program utilizing these telecopes with teachers, developed by Co-I Murphy and Randy Bell, an Associate Professor at the U. VA Curry School of Education. Feedback indicated a lack of equipment at schools to enable the teachers to transmit their astronomy knowledge to students. This proposal utilizes 10 working Meade LX-10 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes recently retired by the University of Virginia Astronomy Department and made available to this program at no cost. After training, teachers will be able to check out a telecope for a period of one month to use at their school in night observing and daytime education education activities. The science content will draw heavily from the research of NASA missions.Teachers will receive development credits for participation.

Team/Institutional Proposals
  1. Building Partnerships Through "Kids Capture Their Universe"
    Science PI: : Dr. Deepto Chakrabarty, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, (deepto@space.mit.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Dr. Irene Porro, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. (iporro@mit.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Citizen Schools
    • Science Education Department, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)


    The purpose of this proposal is to promote the dissemination and sustainability of the "Kids Capture Their Universe" (KCU) program. The KCU is at present successfully operating at 7 Citizen School sites. This proposal will add 10 additional out-of-school-time (OST) organizations across Massachusetts, particularly those serving populations underserved and underrpresented in STEM. The new OST organizations will develop partnerships with volunteers from local astronomy and space science communities to present an after-school program. The intent is to provide sustainability through the development of a pool of both astronomy content experts and OST centers with a common vision of the value of after-school science programs. The institutional team member scientists as well as other current volunteers are the core group of astronomy experts who will initiate partnerships with the new OST organizations and participate in the preparation of the training workshops. They will also be actively involved in recruitment of additional volunteer experts. The KCU curriculum utilizes the MicroObservatory robotic telescope network to provide concrete astronomy learning opportunties.

  2. Touring a Universe of Black Holes: A WWT Educational Package
    Science PI: Dr. Martin Elvis, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, (melvis@cfa.harvard.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Mary Dussault, Science Education Department, Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)
    Education Partner: Science Education Department, CfA


    With funding from NSF and NASA, the Science Education Department at the CfA is creating a national traveling exhibit, "Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists" that will tour the US for 3 years starting in June 2009. A cutting edge feature of the exhibit will be networked exhibit work stations where visitors will be able to create a personalized exhibit website through the use of swipe cards. The web content authoring system supports on-going visitor engagement beyond the walls of the museum, and connects the vistor experience to the immense resevoir of on-line resources. The newly emerged World Wide Telescope (WWT) technology is a logical extension of this forward- looking exhibit technology. This proposal will develop, as an integral part of the personalized exhibit web site option, an exhibit-specific accessible portal to the WWT that will allow vistors to extend their explorations of the exhibit content through the WWT's vizualization software environment. The exhibit-tailored package within WWT will contain supplementary education materials that integrate WWT content with the exhibit museum education programs. The grant will also support direct educator and scientist involvement at the first 4 museum venues in the use of the science from the exhibit and the WWT in education programs.

Cycle 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10