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Education and Public Outreach Proposals Selected in Cycle 8

The Cycle 8 Chandra EPO Peer Review, conducted by the CXC, was held in Cambridge MA on Dec. 6-8, 2006. A panel representing science, education, museum, Forum, and NASA mission and management perspectives reviewed 13 proposals. Five individual and 8 institutional proposals were submitted. Three individual and 6 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. Using Simple Ball and Stick Models to Explain Stellar Size Scales and Magnetic Fields in Vocational High Schools
    Science PI: Stanley Owocki/U. Delaware, (owocki@bartol.udel.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Asif ud-Doula, (asif@bartol.udel.edu)
    Education Partner: New Castle County Vocational Technical School District, DE


    The partner school district consists entirely of vocational schools. Students will construct a series of scale models of main sequence stars for use as an aid in the teaching of the relative sizes, luminosities, temperatures, masses and lifetimes of stars as well as the structures of magnetic fields. Students and vocational teachers will be given science explanations necessary to build the models. Science teachers will be given background for use of the models in the classroom. Students and teachers will be informed about the role that Chandra X-ray Observations have played in furthering our knowledge about stars. Completed projects will be presented at an Astronomy Night at Mt. Cuba Observatory.

  2. Refining the Beyond Einstein Explorers Program
    Science PI: Christopher Reynolds/U.MD, (chris@astro.umd.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Anita Krishnamurthi, (anitak@milkyway.gsfc.nasa.gov)
    Education Partner: DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp.


    This project will refine an existing afterschool astronomy program to serve solely a middle school audience. The program is designed as an introduction to astronomy and objects in the Universe beyond the solar system. The focus of the refinements will be the sessions on black holes, stellar evolution, and galaxies. These topics were of most interest to past participants but materials were aimed at the high school level. The revised program will be released in the summer of 2007.

  3. Stretching the Rainbow: Engaging Prospective and Practicing Educators in Multi-Wavelength Astronomy
    Science PI: Joseph Shields/Ohio U, (shields@phy.ohio.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Mangala Sharma, (sharma@ohio.edu)
    Education Partner: South East Ohio Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science (SEOCEMS)


    This project will provide immersive experiences in multi-wavelength astronomy for pre- and in-service high school teachers in Appalachian Ohio through two workshops and an astonomical observing experience. In the workshops, the educators will learn astronomical concepts, use standards-aligned, inquiry-based NASA education material that can be readily incorporated into their classrooms, design an observing program, and analyze data using student-friendly software. The program will culminate in optical observations with the 1.3-m at MDM, and radio observations on the education telescope at Green Bank. The workshops will emphasize the unique capabilities of NASA's great observatories in studying normal galaxies, black holes, and AGN.

Team Proposals

  1. Chandra Astrophysics Institute
    Science PI: Frederick Baganoff/MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, (fkb@space.mit.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Irene Porro, (iporro@mit.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, Boston MA
    • Lynn Public School District, Lynn MA
    • Rutgers Astrophysics Institute, Piscataway NJ


    This program will continue and expand the Chandra Astrophysics Institute (CAI). The goal of the CAI is to provide an opportunity for students underrepresented in STEM to build the background and skills necessary to understand how research science is done, by actually doing it. Students practice these abilities during a 5 week summer session at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Science Research (MKI) that emphasizes mastery of the background needed to undertake a range of projects. They then apply these skills during the school year to undertake research projects in X-ray astronomy that are developed with and mentored by the MKI Chandra researchers.

  2. Penn State's Astronomy Program for In-Service Educators
    Science PI: Niel Brandt/Penn State, (niel@astro.psu.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Christopher Palma, (cpalma@astro.psu.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium, University Park PA
    • Penn State Center for Science and the Schools, University Park PA


    This program will fund tuition and materials for teachers from the targetted audience of rural and urban underserved districts to attend week-long summer workshops at Penn State on space science topics. The professional development offerings will expose educators to inquiry-based, peer-reviewed astronomy activities produced by NASA. Workshops are designed to improve the educator's ability to address both national and state science education standards. Participants recieve two Penn State graduate credits.

  3. The Invisible Universe: Video Conference Field Trips for Grades 6-10
    Science PI: Edward Brown/Michigan State, (ebrown@pa.msu.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Megan Donahue, (donahue@pa.msu.edu)
    Education Partner:
    • Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing MI


    This program will develop science content around the theme "The Invisible Universe" primarily for an on-going teleconferencing project distributed to Michigan middle schools, and secondarily for an interactive science site called "Science Buzz". The teleconferencing system (Learning and Developing Distance Education Resources in Sciences - LADDERS) is a currently active mode of outreach to remote Michigan middle schools. This program will develop video content and activities supporting the theme of light exploration that directly address state and national science education standards. The full program, supported by the MSU Musuem, includes local and remote teacher workshops, video production, kit development for in-class use, and the development of specific lesson plans. Additional dissemination will be provided via the Science Buzz site in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

  4. Kids Question the Cosmos
    Science PI: Deepto Chakrabarty/MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, (deepto@space.mit.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Irene Porro, (iporro@mit.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Citizen Schools, Boston MA
    • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory MicroObservatory program, Cambridge MA
    • Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston


    Kids Question the Cosmos is an astronomy apprenticeship for middle-school students developed for, and in partnership with the Citizen Schools (CS), a leading national initiative in out-of-school time education. CS operates in primarily low-income, minority neighborhoods in communities around Massachusetts, as well as Northern CA, TX, NJ, and NC. It is expected to grow it's network to approximately 92 sites in 8-10 states by 2012. Through the CS partnership, this program will contribute to the development of astronomy resources specifically certified for use in after school settings. The intent is to provide the opportunity for quality science learning to youth from underserved communities and from groups traditionally under- represented in STEM. The program will provide an 11-week apprenticeship in astrophotography through the use of the MicroObservatory program. Once the curriculum is certified by CS, it will be disseminated locally in partnership with the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, and nationally in collaboration with with the CS, Night Sky Network and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

  5. Black Holes and Galaxy Evolution Museum Component
    Science PI: Martin Elvis/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, (elvis@cfa.harvard.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Simon Steel, (sjsteel@cfa.harvard.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Science Education Deaprtment, CfA, Cambridge, MA
    • Association of Science-Technology Centers, Washington DC


    The Science Education Department at the CfA is creating The Black Hole Experiment Gallery (BHEG), a 2500 sq. ft. national travelling exhibition that will use the demonstrated popularity of black holes to engage visitors in active learning about the frontiers of astronomical discovery and the nature of scientific investigation. This program will augment the BHEG exhibition through the research and development, prototyping, formative evaluation, and production of an interactive, multi-media component, the Black Holes and Galaxy Evolution station. The station will provide interactive visualization and computer-based investigations that visitors can actively explore. The BEGH exhibition will include professional development opportunities for host-site museum staff and is geared to medium-sized museums which typically lack the resources to develop up-to-date exhibitions, or to keep existing ones up to date on current research topics.

  6. Development of a Model Teacher/Student Workshop Program for Ohio Middle Schools
    Science PI: Smita Mathur/Ohio State, (smita@astronomy.ohio-state.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Donald Terndrup, (terndrup@astronomy.ohio-state.edu)
    Education Partner:
    • COSI Columbus, Columbus Ohio


    This project will develop and test a new model of field trips for middle school students during which the students will participate in inquiry-based lessons on astronomy while their teachers engage in professional development activites that parallel the student content. Content will focus on the fundamental concepts used in teaching and learning about gravity, with reference to Chandra science results where appropriate. The content and goals will be tied to Ohio standards for middle-school science education. The program will bring together scientists from Ohio State University and education professionals from COSI Columbus, an internationally known science center. The anticipated direct audience is 2400 students and 120 teachers. Ohio State will provide participating teachers with continuing education credits. The new concept-building material developed for this program will also be disseminated on CD-ROM to other science centers and Ohio school districts with support from COSI.

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