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Getting Earth and Space Science into the K-14 Classroom

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Steve
Croft (NOAO)

One of the major challenges facing scientists and EPO specialists in astronomy and the space science is disseminating their high quality materials widely into K-14 classrooms. School science curricula are already crowded with necessary and worthy educational content - much of it mandated by state or national science content standards. Consequently, most teachers have no time in the school year to insert new "extra" materials, even if they are motivated to use your new mission results through participation in a workshop or by reading your posters or print materials. In the years since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, the opportunities to use new mission materials have become fewer in K-12 schools across the nation as they have narrowed their curricula still further to "teach to the test." Civics, history, geography and creative writing are being pushed out, and even with science becoming part of the state tests this year, the curriculum generally does not include much earth or planetary science.

I will briefly describe a few EPO projects that I have worked on that have been successful in getting cutting-edge scientific content into the classroom. Each uses a different model, requiring different levels of content "translation," resources, and teacher preparation. Possible applications of these different models to projects at the PSI will be discussed.

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