Paper No. 11-5
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
PLANETARIA AS PARTNERS: THE SKY’S NOT THE LIMIT FOR EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE EDUCATION
While field trips to the local planetarium have been a staple of American science curricula for decades, the services that these institutions can offer teachers and their students have greatly expanded in recent years. From the advent of 3-D immersive full-dome videography to real-time access to images from robotic telescopes, advances in technology have forever changed the potential of the planetarium to bring science to life. In addition, planetaria also offer a variety of hands-on activities to students, both in concert with affiliated science museums as well as teaching faculty at university facilities. These can be tailor-made to fit a town’s particular curriculum (as well as afford university students – including preservice teachers - the opportunity to interact with the general public in a meaningful way). But changes in planetarium programming not only focus on the future, but embrace the past, for example rediscovering the utility of ancient technologies such as astrolabes in the teaching of basic earth and space science concepts (as well as providing valuable lessons in the cultural relevancy of earth and space science). In addition to programming aimed specifically at students, planetarium staff can also provide professional development for teachers, introducing them to activities that can be brought back to individual classrooms as well as helping practicing teachers refresh their own earth and space science proficiencies. This presentation will share examples of the range of opportunities that planetaria can now offer to K-12 teachers.