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Education and Public Outreach Proposals Selected in Cycle 5

The Cycle 5 Chandra EPO Peer Review, conducted by the CXC, was held in Cambridge MA on Oct. 23-24, 2003. A nine member panel representing science, education, museum, Forum, and NASA mission and management perspectives reviewed 15 proposals. Eight individual PI proposals and 7 institutional proposals were submitted. The submitted proposals oversubscribed the available funding by more than a factor of two, which made the review and selection process quite competitive. Six individual proposals and 3 institutional proposals were selected for funding. An overview of the selected proposals follows, alphabetically in order of PI last name.

Individual PI Proposals

  1. Supernova and Black Hole Patch Activity: Involving Middle School Girls in Science

    Science PI: Dr. Ann Hornschemeier, Johns Hopkins University, (annh@pha.jhu.edu)
    Education Co-I: Katie Kutsy, Program Coordinator, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland (kkutsy@gscm.org)
    Education Partners:
    Girl Scouts of Central Maryland
    Universities Space Research Association
    Maryland Space Grant Consortium


    This program will package existing middle school activities concerning stellar evolution, the electromagnetic spectrum, supernovae and black holes for distribution throughout the Girl Scout Council of Central Maryland (GSCM). A "patch day" will be held at JHU in mid-summer 2004 to which 60 girls and 20 leaders will be invited to carry out hands-on activities in the targetted science areas. The budget will support the patch day activity as well as the purchase of science kits to carry out the activities. The patch day will serve as an evaluation tool for the activity packet and the program concept, leading to a plan for broader dissemination through regional and national Girl Scout affiliates.

  2. The Sun-Earth Connection

    Science PI: Dr. Christine Jones, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, (cjones@cfa.harvard.edu)
    Education Partners:
    Arlington Public Schools, Arlington MA


    This program will develop a series of science investigations for the 400 third grade students in the Arlington Public Schools that will explicitly connect the concept of the Sun as the primary source of energy for the Earth with the role plants play in transforming that energy. As background, the role of stars in producing the heavy elements needed for life, and the unique role of Chandra in clarifying the dispersal of heavy elements through supernovae will be addressed. The program will generate a teacher's handbook containing the investigations and hold workshops for the participating teaching staff.

  3. A Multi-wavelength Astronomy Guide for the Visually Impaired

    Science PI: Dr. Mark Lacy, Spitzer Science Lab, JPL, (mlacy@ipac.caltech.edu)
    Education Co-I: Doris Daou, IPAC and Spitzer Science Center, (daou@ipac.caltech.edu)
    Education Partners:
    Noreen Grice, youcandoastronomy.com


    This program will produce a prototype Braille book containing images of astronomical objects at wavelenghts from radio to X-ray similar to the book "Touch the Universe", which focussed on Hubble images. Much of modern astronomy is carried out by analyzing information about objects from emissions across the range of the electromagnetic spectrum. As an introduction to non-visible wavelengths, this book will provide the visually impaired target audience with a context for understanding many other NASA missions, including the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Infrared Telescope.

  4. A Learning Module Based on Multi-wavelength Observations of Supernova 1987A

    Science PI: Prof. Richard McCray, Univ. of Colorado, (dick@jila.colorado.edu)
    Education Partners:
    Rose Planetarium/American Museum of Natural History
    Fiske Planetarium/University of Colorado, Boulder


    This program will develop an instructional module to illustrate the science that is being learned from observations of Supernova 1987A with Chandra and other telescopes. In collaboration with educators at the Rose and Fiske Planetaria, the module will be designed with learning levels that address the needs of middle school through non-science major college students, with both Spanish and English text and narration options, and with various formats to enable dissemination via a public web site, a CD-ROM, and through display on public terminals at the two planetaria.

  5. Tuning in the Sun

    Science PI: Prof. Ronald Reynolds, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, (reynolds@astro.wisc.edu)
    Education Co-I: Dr. James Lattis, Univ. of Wisconsin Space Place, (lattis@sal.wisc.edu)
    Education Partners:
    UW Space Place, Madison
    Phillips Planetarium/Univ. Wisconsin, Eau Claire


    This program will develop an extension to a prototype activity, funded by a previous Chandra EPO grant, which uses a product that produces H-alpha images of the sun. It will be used with a special solar-optical telescope to introduce students and teachers to a range of astronomical ideas, including the electromagnetic spectrum, the nature of main sequence stars, the various types of activity seen in stars, how understanding "normal" stars like our sun helps astronomers understand more exotic phenomena. The program will include development of a solar-observing workshop for school groups based on the lessons learned in the prototype "Universe in the Park" program; an interactive exhibit on the electromagnetic spectrum to be housed at Space Place; and two planetarium shows for use at the Phillips Planetarium.

  6. Enhancing Outreach from the Middlebury College Observatory

    Science PI: Prof. Frank Winkler, Middlebury College, (winkler@middlebury.edu)
    Education Co-I: Dr. Robert Prigo, Dept. Teacher Education, Middlebury College, (prigo@middlebury.edu)
    Education Partners:
    Middlebury College Observatory


    This program will enrich the existing program of Public Nights at the Middlebury College Observatory. The public nights serve a primarily rural population and are centered on use of the 0.6M optical telescope for observing. The program intends to enhance the experience of the hundreds of visitors a year by providing wall mounted astronomical images and video displays, with appropriate explanations, of the latest science results from NASA's high energy astrophysics missions, including Chandra. Images will be easily updated as new results become available. A video display will provide a "virtual telescope" experience, showing what the optical telescope is viewing alongside multi-wavelength comparative images. Middlebury College students training in science education will be involved in designing and carrying out the project. A website, with links to other Vermont science outreach institutions, will be established to share and coordinate program information and resources.

Institutional Proposals
  1. Chandra in Out-of-School Time

    Institutional Science PI: Prof. Deepto Chakrabarty, MIT, (deepto@space.mit.edu)
    Education Co-I: Dr. Irene Porro, MIT, (iporro@space.mit.edu)
    Education Partners:
    Boston 2:00-6:00 After-School Initiative


    In collaboration with the Boston 2:00-6:00 After School Initiative, this project will design a program to promote academic achievement in science and to support the preparation for college of high school students from the Boston Public Schools. This project is a follow-on to two previous pilot programs funded under Chandra EPO grants to explore learning opportunities for inner city students in out-of-school time. The program consists of two components: an after-school program to reinforce learning in physics and space science through activities that develop students' computer skills; and a summer program that specifically addresses highly motivated students and provides in-depth science content in selected topics related to the Chandra mission.

  2. Penn State In-service Workshops in Astronomy

    Institutional Science PI: Prof. Eric Feigelson, Pennsylvania State University, (edf@astro.psu.edu)
    Education Co-I: Lori Lauver, Director, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, Harrisburg PA, (llauver@whitakercenter.org)
    Education Partners:
    Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, Harrisburg, PA
    Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium


    This program will fund the ninth annual Penn State In-service Workshops in Astronomy (PSIWA) in 2004. The intensive, content-rich workshops will educate middle and high school teachers about planets, stars, galaxies and cosmology and related technologies. The 2004 curriculum uses NASA-developed and disseminated education products and will be enhanced by new content to be introduced by the Whitaker Center, including hands-on activities using the "Starry-Night" planetarium software. A feature will be sessions presenting current astronomical research (including Chandra) presented by scientists and related faculty specialists at Penn State. Copies and videos of presentations will be distributed to participants on CD-ROM. Participants are also given curriculum materials such as textbooks and activity guides as well as other resource material from NASA missions. The workshops target rural/underserved as well as inner-city Pennsylvania school districts.

  3. Rumplestiltskin's Starry Secret: a Planetarium Show for small/middle-sized planetaria

    Institutional Science PI: Prof. Larry Rudnick, Univ. Minnesota, (larry@astro.umn.edu)
    Education Co-I: Evan Skillman, Univ. Minnesota, (skillman@astro.umn.edu)
    Education Partners:
    Minnesota Planetarium Society


    This program will create a planetarium show, aimed at small and medium-sized planetaria, for nationwide distribution. Using the fable of Rumplestiltskin and his magical powers that turn straw into gold as a familiar and audience-friendly entry point, the show will explore the processes inside a star that make new elements. The show will be targetted to general family audiences, and will use relevant results and images from Chandra and other telescopes. Primary responsibility for the show's development will be placed with Robert Bonadurer, the nationally-known creator of over 20 planetarium shows. The project will be distributed at cost (including script, video, slides and soundtrack) to planetaria nationwide. Based on response to previous such offers, it is expected that approximately 100 planetaria will acquire the show, reaching a potential 500,000 viewers. The Minnesota Planetarium Society will distribute the show.

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