Two Teacher Science Education Programs at the PSU Greenbush Astrophysical Observatory

D. M. Kuehn (Pittsburg St. Univ.)

Pittsburg State University and the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center have been collaborating to improve mathematics and science achievement in local school districts. During the summer of 1996, twelve elementary and middle school teachers participated in a program funded by an IDEA grant through the Space Telescope Science Institute. The program's goals were to increase the quantity and quality of science instruction through training these teachers in astronomy incorporating the use of a StarLab portable planetarium.

This summer, a similar number of elementary, middle and high school teachers are participating in a program funded by the Kansas Board of Education through the Goals 2000 program. This program focuses on letting teachers learn about astronomy (and science) by actually performing research projects. These teachers formulate a problem, collect data using a research grade telescope and instruments, analyze these data, and report results. The goals of the program are to remove the mystery about the scientific process, build confidence in mathematics and real-world problems, and to excite teachers to competently teach more math and science, especially at the lower grade levels.

Partial support for this work was provided by NASA through STScI grant number ED-90057.01-95A.