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Education and Public Outreach Proposals Selected in Cycle 9

The Cycle 9 Chandra EPO Peer Review, conducted by the CXC, was held in Cambridge MA on Dec. 5-7, 2007. A panel representing science, education, museum, Forum, and NASA mission and management perspectives reviewed 12 proposals. Three individual and 9 institutional proposals were submitted. Two individual and 5 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 Extreme Universe Video Conference Field Trips for Grades 6-10 Science
    Science PI: Dr. Mark Voit/Michigan State University, (voit@pa.msu.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Judy Smyth/MSU Museum, (smythjud@msu.edu)
    Education Partner: Michigan State University Museum


    The proposal will develop and provide science content around the theme of "The Extreme Universe" for an on-going teleconferencing project (Learning and Developing Distance Education Resources - LADDERS) being carried out by the MSU museum for remote middle schools in Michigan under a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The content is presented as virtual field trips that include inquiry-based, hands-on classroom activities. The content will address National Education standards for grades 5-10 as well as Project 2061 goals to advance literacy in science. In addition to serving Michigan schools, the program will will be offered to classrooms across the country through LADDERS' partnerships with national distance learning web sites and listservs. MSU's Virtual Outreach Website will connect participants to additional NASA resources and will utilize NASA materials. With an existing infrastructure and in-place program staff as well as participant schools, the program will remain in existence beyond the term of this grant.

  2. Creating a Tour of the Center of the Galaxy in the World Wide Telescope
    Science PI: Dr. Farhad Yusef-Zadeh/Northwestern University, (zadeh@northwestern.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Doug Roberts/Adler Planetarium, (doug-roberts@northwestern.edu)
    Education Partner: Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago, IL


    This proposal will use data from NASA's Great Observatories to create a story-driven "tour" of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in multi- wavelength for the World Wide Telescope (WWT) interactive visualization system. The WWT enables users to actively explore the sky with targeted images. Captions and an audio option (to be provided in English and Spanish) make the tour accessible. Some data from each of NASA's Great Observatories has already been incorporated into the WWT, and this proposal will expand the offerings. Two versions of the tour will be created: one aimed at middle school children, one aimed at adults with a high school education or above. The system will be developed and tested with target audiences at the Adler. The finished products will be available through Microsoft's release of the WWT and also deployed at Adler's Space Visualization Lab and the CyberSpace installation, ensuring longevity beyond the term of this grant. Adler staff will develop outreach presentations in the form of Informal public interpretation programs as well as video-conferenced field trips. The adult version of the tour will be used in an Adler adult education astronomy class.

Team/Institutional Proposals
  1. Rooftop Variables
    Science PI: : Prof. David Helfand/Columbia University,
    EPO Co-I: Dr. Marcel Agueros/Columbia University, (marcel@astro.columbia.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Summer Research Program for Teachers (SRP), Columbia University
    • American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), Cambridge, MA


    This program leverages the existing Summer Research Program at Columbia University which has provided ~200 New York City teachers with professional development programs in the sciences since 1990. Teachers gain hands-on experience by becoming integral participants in their mentors labs for two consecutive summers. To date there has been no formal astronomy opportunity, which this program addresses. Initially 4-6 teachers will be competitively selected to learn observational and data reduction techniques on amateur observing targets suggested by the AAVSO, under the guidance of mentors from the Columbia astronomy department. The AAVSO monitors sources which can become targets of opportunity for telescopes such as Chandra and participants will be expected to contribute data to the AAVSO data base. Teachers will also be presented with astronomy teaching resources and opportunities to develop their own astronomy-related materials, and have access to department sponsored observing nights and dark-sky field trips. The ultimate goal of the program is the establishment of on-going astronomy clubs at each of the participants schools under continued mentorship from the Columbia astronomy department.

  2. Chandra Astrophysics Institute
    Science PI: Dr. Deepto Chakrabarty/MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI), (deepto@space.mit.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Dr. Irene Porro/MKI, (iporro@mit.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Lynn Public School District, Lynn MA
    • Urban Science Academy, West Roxbury MA
    • The Engineering School, Hyde Park MA
    • New Mission High School, Boston MA
    • Community Charter School of Cambridge, Cambridge MA


    This program continues the previously funded CAI. The goal of the CAI is to provide underserved students with effective learning opportunities in science. Through CAI, students build the background skills and knowledge necessary to understand how research science is done, by actually doing it. Students participate in an intensive, 5 week summer session at MIT, and then apply their skills during the next full year to undertake investigative projects in X-ray astronomy developed in collaboration with mentors from MKI. Several new schools have been added, and contact time with participating students has been increased. A pilot outreach component, working with math/science/technology clubs at participating schools will be implemented. In addition to the traditional public presentations, a portfolio of the final product of the student investigations will be created for public dissemination via a public web site.

  3. Adding Loops To The STEM Pipeline: Mentoring and After-School Activities for Girls Scouts
    Science PI: Dr. Anne Hornschemeier/Goddard Space Flight Center, (Ann.Hornschemeier@nasa.gov)
    EPO Co-I: Christine Lamgerton/Teen Program Specialist, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, (CLamgerton@gscm.org)
    Education Partner:
    • Girl Scouts of Central Maryland (GSCM), Baltimore MD
    • GSFC Astrophysics (ASD) EPO, Baltimore MD
    • GSFC Heliophysics (HSD) EPO, Baltimore MD


    The program will transfer existing activities from the Big Explosions/Strong Gravity (BESG) program (previously funded by Chandra and now in a national expansion phase with ROSES funding), as well as new content to be developed and adapted from EPO programs in the GSFC ASD, HSD and Solar Dynamics Lab, to the 8-week after school "feeder" program that engages younger, inner city girls to graduate into the Girls Scouts' ACE mentoring program. This program (as well as the earlier BESG) combines STEM content with a mentoring experience provided by a scientist volunteer network including GSFC, JHU, UMd, CUA and STScI. This grant will fund the preparation of a core group of GSCM staff to train the mentors, as well as the start up funds for four after school programs utilizing the NASA content to be held during the 2008-2009 school year.

  4. Connecting Kids to the Universe with the Beyond Einstein Explorers Program
    Science PI: Dong Lai/Cornell University, (dong@astro.cornell.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Nancy Schaff/Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University, (nancys@astro.cornell.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development


    This program will leverage NASA's Beyond Einstein Explorers Program (BEEP) by funding the development of teaching kits, and the implementation of regional training workshop in collaboration with the 4-H Youth Development program in New York State to extend the geographical reach of the BEEP program and materials. The 4-H education partner will particularly seek reaching underrepresented and underserved youth. The trained leaders will develop the capacity to implement the project with youth as well as train other leaders. The resource kits will be available for loan on a regional level. The participants intend to use this pilot program as a development opportunity to develop a working paradigm for expansion. They plan seek additional funding to expand the program through other 4-H groups on a wider geographical basis.

  5. The Nature of Science: A Planetarium Show on Globular Clusters at the Science Museum
    of Virginia

    Science PI: Dr. Craig Sarazin/Univeristy of Virginia, (sarazin@virginia.edu)
    EPO Co-I: Dr. Edward Murphy/University of Virgina, (emurphy@virginia.edu)
    Education Partners:
    • The Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond VA


    The purpose of this program is to introduce students and the public to the nature of science through the development and production of a planetarium show on globular clusters at the Science Museum of Virginia. The focus of the show will be to demonstrate how scientists know basic properties of globular clusters through the nature of science and the scientific method. The factual content of what scientists know will be introduced incidentally to discussing how scientists work. Throughout the show, the differences between facts, hypotheses, theories and laws will be emphasized. In addition to the PI and EPO Co-I, The development team includes experienced staff at the planetarium of the Science Museum of Virginia who will oversee the production of the show and define and manage production of the associated study guide.

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