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A Systemic Approach to Improving K-12 Astronomy Education Using NASA's internet Resources.

TIMOTHY F. SLATER [1]

BRIAN BEAUDRIE [2]

DAVID M. CADTIZ [3]

DONNA GOVERNOR [4]

ELIZABETH E. ROETTGER [5]

STEPHANIE STEVENSON [3]

GEORGE TUTHILL [3]

The Center for Educational Resources (CERES) Project, a NASA-funded outreach effort at Montana State University, has begun implementing the astronomy concepts prescribed in the NRC's National Science Education Standards (NSES) by using NASA's existing Internet resources. A team of classroom teachers, university professors, and NASA research scientists developed 20 innovative web-based K-12 classroom lessons that emphasize inquiry-based instructional strategies. In addition, CERES has created two graduate-level Internet-based distance learning courses for K-12 teachers, to help them learn the astronomy concepts in the NSES and gain experience with the project's NSES-based instructional materials. Together, the classroom materials and the supporting Internet-based courses for teachers provide substantial support for schools implementing the NSES and are available online at URL: http://btc.montana.edu/ceres.

The ongoing challenge of contemporary science teaching is to help students learn science by active inquiry rather than by memorizing facts. Although this student-centered perspective is clearly emphasized in the NRC National Science Education Standards (NSES, 1996), it is difficult to achieve. The scientific community's understanding of astronomy and space science is rapidly improving, and public outreach efforts by organizations such as NASA now provide up-to-date data and images through the Internet. Nevertheless, text-based classroom materials largely remain behind this rapidly advancing knowledge front. Moreover, many precollege physical science and geoscience teachers report that their lack of training and understanding of contemporary content makes it difficult for them to provide inquiry-driven instruction in astronomy and space science.

Montana State University's Center for Educational Resources (CERES) Project was initiated through NASA support in 1997 to systematically implement the astronomy concepts in the NSES by using NASA resources-- both primary data and educational activities--on the Internet. The CERES has had dual missions. The first was to create a series of exemplary WWW-based classroom lessons that would integrate the student-centered inquiry emphases of the NSES and online data resources from NASA. This was accomplished by bringing together classroom teachers, university professors, and NASA research scientists to develop, field-test, and distribute innovative classroom-ready lessons that helped students do inquiry-based learning activities using real NASA data. In short, this part of the project was intended to provide a structure for students to do science, and help teachers to implement the NSES.

CERES's second task was to develop two graduate-level courses in space science and astronomy for K-12 teachers, to be delivered over the Internet. The first course, Comparative Planetology: Establishing a Virtual Presence in the Solar System, focused on the NSES content standards in astronomy for grades K-8, while the second, Studying the Universe with Space Observatories, addressed the standards for students in grades 9--12. These asynchronous computer-mediated courses use a robust combination of World Wide Web (WWW or Web) resources and conferencing software for participant interactions.

This article is intended to document the development strategies and activities of the CERES Project to systematically help classrooms implement the NSES. We begin with remarks on the NSES themselves and a characterization of the resources that are increasingly accessible on the Internet, before turning to a description of the GERES development process and its results.

National Standards as a Starting Point

The 1996 NSES, authored by the National Research Council, aggressively lay out an approach for effective classroom instruction, age-appropriate guidelines for curriculum materials development, authentic assessment procedures, and professional development programs for teachers. In terms of K--12 astronomy, an overview of the NSES outlines 11 major astronomy concepts. Listed in Table 1, these learning objectives include describing the objects and motions of the sky from an earth-based, skyward looking perspective (grades K-4), gravity and the characteristics of the solar system (grades 5--8), and the origin and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the Universe (grades 9--12). Also important, but beyond the scope of this article, are the standards addressing "unifying concepts and processes," "science as inquiry," "relationships to other sciences and to technology," "the nature of scientific knowledge," and "the social perspective of science" (NSES, 1996). A review of the science education misconceptions literatur e that accompanies these astronomy learning objectives is thoroughly described elsewhere (Adams & Slater, 2000).

In the culture of U.S. education, the last formal study of astronomy for the vast majority of students is in the grade 8 or 9 earth science curriculum. This deficit in formal astronomy course work is reflected in the preparation of U.S. elementary and secondary teachers, most of whom have had no formal college-level astronomy courses (Slater, Carpenter, & Safko, 1996; Slater, 1993). Fortunately for advocates of geoscience education, the NSES provide an impetus for increasing the quantity of astronomy included in the school curriculum. Not every professional astronomer agrees that the concepts outlined in the NSES learning objectives are indeed the most important ones (Pasachoff, 1997). On the other hand, the architects of the NSES emphatically call for professional scientists to rally behind the NSES in order to present a cohesive vision for schools (Bybee, 1998). It is with the proponent's perspective that CERES engaged in the activities described here.

Internet Resources

NASA recognizes that public support of its mission requires extensive education and public outreach, and a serious effort to bring the findings of space-based research to every citizen. For this reason the agency has made available to the public by way of the Web, terabytes of data and images. The most notable effort is through the NASA SpaceLink Web Site (http://www.spacelink.nasa.gov/), which attempts to centralize and categorize materials from nearly all NASA missions, research centers, and projects. A list of representative examples of online NASA data resources is shown in Table 2.

Table 2 is by no means comprehensive. Indeed, the wealth of online resources is overwhelming for most busy classroom teachers. Several projects have found success by creating instructional materials that use a very limited subset of online materials (Slater, Beaudrie, & Fixen, 1998; Slater, Larson, & McKenzie, 1998). Other projects, described in detail elsewhere, are experimenting with giving students unlimited access to resources in an effort to promote information management skills among students (Slater, 1998).

Instructional Materials Development

Roughly speaking, two distinct models dominate instructional materials development projects. The most common is scientist-led development, a process in which one or more scientists creates materials that they believe will evoke student excitement and interest in the discipline. The advantage of this approach is that the resulting materials usually reflect accurate scientific conceptions and, often, a research emphasis. All too frequently, however, well-meaning research scientists create lessons that exceed the cognitive level or content background of contemporary students. This can even occur when materials development includes master teachers, who may not accurately represent the pedagogical skills or content backgrounds or the students of the typical practicing teachers. Few classrooms are likely adopt the materials if there is a mismatch with student abilities or teacher preparation and support.

A second development model is teacher-led. In this approach, the primary authorship resides with a teacher or team of teachers, who create materials that they anticipate will lead to student success. Materials created through this process generally carry high credibility among classroom teachers and administrators, and are much more likely to make their way into classrooms. However, the materials can reveal seriously flawed scientific conceptions and alternative frameworks. Not surprisingly, scientists may be critical of such efforts (lona, 1998).

The CERES Project adopted a three-phase development strategy, which practicing scientists and teachers collaborated at every step. First, scientists were matched with classroom teachers in three to five member teams to develop lesson ideas related to specific astronomy areas. The scientists instructed project teachers, using examples of real-world scientific data to illustrate the focus concepts listed in the NSES. In a second step, teachers used sound pedagogical strategies to adapt the scientists' ideas into useful and cognitively appropriate hands-on activities. These lessons were piloted in the teacher-participants' classrooms, before being revised and again field-tested by a second group of teachers. Finally, the teacher/scientist teams edited the final versions to ensure a robust combination of accurate science and age-appropriate learning strategies, in web-accessible forms that teachers can implement directly in their classrooms.

The CERES lessons are listed in Table 3 and are described in detail elsewhere (Slater & Beaudrie, 2000; Slater, 1999; Beaudrie, Slater, Stephenson, & Caditz, 1998; Slater & Beaudrie, 1998). They are unique because they focus on real scientific data from NASA, promote the research emphasis of NASA, are classroom-ready, and were created by first looking at the NSES content learning objectives and then created specifically to match each objective closely. This collaborative development process using small teams of teachers and scientists helps avoid many of the common roadblocks to classroom adoption. Teacher-writers and field-testers have significant ownership in the materials. The participating teachers and scientists become an ongoing support network of teacher-trainers and advertising field-representatives. Because the materials were created by inservice teachers, they are closely aligned with curricular goals, student cognitive levels, and typical standardized tests. Through the collaboration with scientis ts, the materials are scientifically accurate and can withstand examination by the scientific community. The collaboration between scientists and teachers encourages them to be partners in national science education reforms. The authors believe that authenticity in professional development, as used here, models the collaborative learning strategies that they wish teachers to use in their instruction.

In practice, the materials development process was not always seamless as originally hoped. Many of the teacher-participant writers had a somewhat limited astronomy background, resulting in the project staff being active editors during the first writing phases to maintain an emphasis on inquiry. Most of the first-generation materials from the novice teachers reflected a knowledge-based approach. But by the end of the project, we were able to facilitate development of lessons that did reflect modern instructional strategies.

Distance Learning Courses for Teachers

Many science teachers bring to their careers a passion for the subject matter they teach and a genuine desire to increase their understanding. When a nationally promoted set of standards encourages emphasis of a topic--astronomy and earth/space science--a topic that is not yet mainstream, the need for professional development opportunities is clear.

But for many, access to such professional development opportunities for new topics is problematic. Science teachers are dispersed all across the country, and often do not form a large group in any single school or even a school district. For many, it is a long distance to the nearest college or university with a suitable enhancement program for teachers. Because of jobs and families, teachers may be place-bound during the school year and often in the summer as well. Moreover, their needs are highly specialized--coursework that treats both the science content and the classroom context where teachers will draw on new conceptual understanding. This combination of factors means that many science teachers are not able to access appropriate professional development in person.

The Internet, however, is dramatically changing this picture. Computer-mediated communication, and especially asynchronous conferencing, allows classes to be organized and to function productively even though the participants and instructor(s) are widely separated, never meet face-to-face, and have different schedules. In recent years it has become clear that busy classroom teachers want--and will enroll in--professional development coursework if it is tailored to their needs and is electronically accessible from their home or workplace.

MSU has acquired wide experience in providing such distance-delivered academic offerings to science teachers in the setting of an NSF-supported project, the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN). Since 1993, NTEN has developed and delivered over 40 different courses, reaching more than 2000 science teachers across the U.S. (General information about the project is accessible at URL: http://btc.montana.edu/nten/.) NTEN courses are developed and taught by teams of scientists, high-school teachers, and science educators. Participants use a personal computer and modem to connect to their classes (Smith & Taylor, 1995), interacting with each other and with the instructor through conferencing software that allows for both structured public discussions and private messaging. Most aspects of the courses are unsurprising; textbooks, homework exercises, computer software, and evaluation activities--but there are no lectures. Instead, instructors and students work through the material together in a structured and scheduled format, sometimes with almost daily assignments. These are far from "independent study" experiences; indeed, participants report that discussion and networking is a major factor in their learning Nonetheless, the fact that the discussions are not conducted in real time means that teachers can participate in the class at times of day most convenient for them.

Building on this model, CERES designed and tested two 3-graduate-credit courses in space science for teachers. Designed specifically for K-S teachers, Comparative Planetology: Establishing a Virtual Presence in the Solar System helps teachers develop a holistic perspective of our Solar System as a collection of unique and individual worlds, but with many properties determined by a relatively limited set of common processes. Course participants examine online NASA image libraries and background information to find fundamental similarities in the processes that have shaped our Solar System. Pattems emerge as teacher-participants gain new understandings of the diverse planetary worlds that share the Sun as a common factor. Participants are required to describe and measure the relationships among different worlds, including scale, location, form, evolution, atmospheres, and chemical/energy cycles. They are asked to communicate an understanding of the component parts and integrated whole of the Solar System that i s scientifically and conceptually accurate, and to integrate concepts from comparative planetology into NSES-aligned classroom activities in space science using image processing techniques and actual NASA data. The course is organized in a sequence of two-week modules, as detailed in Table 4, and focuses on learning science through experiences, activities, and inquiries.

The second course, Studying the Universe with Space Observatories, focuses on galactic and extra-galactic space science described in the National Science Education Standards Content and Teaching guidelines for grade 9-12 teachers. Recent NASA missions have rapidly increased the ability to explore and understand the structure, dynamics, and evolution of the Universe, the formation and evolution of galaxies, and the inner workings of stars. At the same time, growth of the Internet has allowed for rapid and direct public dissemination of new science data and discoveries, sometimes even as they occur in real-time. Often science information is made public without adequate scientific context or commentary, and teachers who are responsible for covering the material find themselves ill prepared. Studying the Universe is intended to provide the conceptual and scientific background necessary for understanding and interpreting the results of space missions related to galactic and extra-galactic space science. Teacher-p articipants are required to address both quantitative and qualitative concepts in telescope design, magnitude systems, and stellar/galactic evolution. Studying the Universe is heavily integrated with web-based astronomical resources from NASA. Reading materials and inquiry-based homework assignments and quizzes are delivered through active course web pages with integrated links to NASA primary science data. Typical assignments included finding and downloading NASA space mission science data from, for example, the Hubble Telescope Data Archive, the Digital Sky Survey, FIRST and COBE, analyzing data using spreadsheets and electronic image and spectral analysis tools, and providing scientific interpretations of data. In addition to gaining knowledge in space science, participants gain familiarity with the capabilities of the various space missions and web-based space science data resources.

In addition to the web-based content, Studying the Universe provides for lively student-student and student-instructor interaction by way of an Internet-conferencing system. This system allows many-to-many synchronous and asynchronous communication, file transfer, e-mail, and so forth, and has been successfully implemented in numerous online science courses. Participants are asked to discuss their science analyses, theories and conclusions, ask questions and provide and receive feedback over this conferencing system. Table 5 lists the course structure.

Assessment

The assessment model for this project used two feedback loops focused on the end users. The feedback loop surrounding the classroom materials development emphasizes classroom testing. The initial step was to have in-service teachers take lead roles, under the content guidance of research scientists, to ensure from the outset that the materials would have classroom relevance and usability. These teachers then served as initial pilot-testers using their own classrooms, and as recruiters for a larger group of fieldtesters who provided suggestions for improvement. This process allowed project staff to continue revision cycles until no further editorial suggestions were made.

All of the 14 primary lesson field-testers (nonlesson writers) reported that they will use the revised lessons again next year. Of the sixteen teacher-writers, 14 reported that they will use the revised lessons next year; the remaining two have accepted teaching assignments that do not include astronomy topics for next year.

The feedback loop for the development and. revision of the CERES Internet courses was conducted using the evaluation and enhancement process already in place for NTEN. An external evaluation team (Horizon Research, North Carolina) conducted pre, mid, and postcourse qualitative and quantitative evaluation through questionnaires to all participants and interviews with a subset of teachers. The questionnaires were administered online, so that rapid feedback (within two weeks) to the instructors and staff was possible. In addition, the evaluation team observed all public discussions in the two courses for the duration of the offerings. This was particularly valuable at the beginning of each semester, enabling us to diagnose and fix problems in courses organization and layout before they could disrupt student learning.

Dissemination

The CERES Project used three distinct strategies for disseminating the project developed materials and courses. The first was the "brute force" approach: we searched the Web exhaustively for sites that point teachers to other existing astronomy lesson plans available free of charge. More than 200 website managers were then contacted by private e-mail with a request to review the CERES website and consider adding the CERES link to their resource lists. This had an advantage of increasing the visibility of the CERES site to Web search engines that keep track of the number of external links pointing to a particular site. To date, the CERES lesson plans have registered more than one million nonidentical Internet accesses. As an unexpected benefit, more than a dozen Web awards have been given to the CERES site. The second approach was to conduct nearly 20 workshop and presentations at professional organization meetings for teachers. Each workshop focused on one or two lesson plans in depth, but also prompted teac hers to access similar classroom ready activities on the CERES site. The third approach has been more traditional, consisting of trade journal articles, professional society presentations, and distribution of a 1000 copies of the CD-version of the lesson plans and distance learning course materials.

Summary

Although there are hundreds of classroom astronomy lessons available to teachers today, few of them were developed specifically for the NSES. For most curriculum developers, the first response to the NSES has been simply to identify which concepts most closely matched the lessons already in print. In contrast, CERES has made a concerted effort to create classroom lessons directly aligned with the NSES astronomy concepts. The lessons are unique because they focus on real-scientific data from NASA, promote the research emphasis of NASA, and are completely classroom-ready. At the same time the project has addressed the issue of teacher support by developing credit-bearing courses designed both to improve science understanding and to help teachers bring that understanding to the classroom. The web-deliverable lessons, in concert with the distance learning courses, represent a systematic approach to improving K-12 astronomy education.

Acknowledgments

This work was generously supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA #NAG5-4576), the Montana State University Burns Telecommunication Center, the Departments of Physics and Mathematics, and various school districts around the country. The Project Investigators from Montana State University were George Tuthill, Kim Obbink, Dave Thomas, and Tim Slater, NASA liaisons were Malcolm Phelps, NASA HQ; Stephanie Stockman, NASA GSFC; and Cherilynn Morrow, Space Science Institute. Project scientists were David Caditz, Montana State University and Elizabeth Roettger, DePaul University; Teacher-participants and field-testing was coordinated by Education Director, Stephanie Stevenson, Montana State University. Teacher Writing Team Members are as follows: The K-4 team: Pam Davis, Flathead, Montana; Anna Flynn, Helena, Montana; Elissa Gerzog, Miami, Florida; Kelly Pounds, Wintergarden, Florida; and Randy Sachter; Nederland, Colorado. The 5-8 grade team: Timothy Buck Buchanan, Belgrade, Montana; Leni Donlan, San Francisco, California; Donna Governor, Pensacola, Florida; Jamie Vowell Bozeman, Montana; and David Spencer, Hardin, Montana. The 9-12 grade team: Laura DeMarotta, Maynardville, Tennessee; Keith Goering, Chanute, Kansas; Bob Hillenbrand, Moffett Field, California; Robert Smith, Jacksonville, Florida; and Ray Taggart, Sanford, Florida. Montana State University project staff included Brian Beaudrie, Jodi Bechtle, Kirby Cobb, Robert J.D. Fixen, Jen Greenfield, Kelle Hill, Kipp Lewis, Ivy Merriot, Christian Stryker, and Jenny Wickum. All online materials can be found at http://btc.montana.edu/ceres.

(1.) University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Tucson, AZ 85721 USA tslater@as.arizona.edu

(2.) Northern Arizona University Department of Mathematics and Statistics Bldg 026, Box 5717 Flagstaff AZ 86011 USA

(3.) Montana State University NASA Center for Educational Resources Project P0 Box 170560, Bozernan, MT 59717-0560 USA

(4.) Brown Barge Middle School 151 East Fairfield Dr. Pensacola, FL 32503 USA

(5.) DePaul University Department of Physics 2219 North Kenmore Ave. Chicago, IL 60614-3522 USA

References

Adams, J.P., & Slater, T.F. (2000). Astronomy in the National Science Education Standards. Journal of Geoscience Education, 48, 13-19.

Beaudrie, B., Slater, T.F., Stevenson, S., & Caditz, D. (1998). Teaching astronomy by Internet jigsawing. Leading and Learning with Technology Journal, 26(4), 28-34.

Bybee, R. (1998). Improving precollege science education-The involvement of scientists and engineers. Journal of College Science Teaching, 27, 324.

National Research Council (1996). National Science Education Standards. National Academy Press. (URL: http://books.nap.edu/html/nses/html/).

Pasachoff, J.M. (1997). Pitfalls in the science standards. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Physical Society, Washington, DC, American Physical Society Bulletin, 42, 1121.

Slater, T.F. (1993). The effectiveness of a constructivist epistemological approach to the astronomy education of elementary and middle level in-service teachers. Doctoral dissertation, University of South Carolina.

Slater, T.F., & Beaudrie, B. (1997/1998, December/January). Doing real science on the Web: Bringing authentic scientific investigations to your classroom. Learning and Leading with Technology, 25(4), 28-31

Slater, T.F., & Beaudrie, B. (2000). Far out measurements: Applying image processing techniques to bring the planets closer to home. Leading and Learning with Technology, February, 2000.

Slater, T.F., Beaudrie, B., & Fixen, R. (1998). Integrating K-12 hypermediated earth system science activities based on world-wide-web resources. Journal of Geoscience Education, 46(2), 149-153.

Slater, T.F., Carpenter, J.R., & Safko, J.L. (1996). Dynamics of a construetivist astronomy course for inservice teachers. Journal of Geoscience Education, 44(5), 523-528.

Slater, T.F., Larson, M.B., & McKenzie, D. (1998). Bringing physics of the Sun to the public. Technological Horizons in Education (THE) Journal, 26(3), 74-77.

Slater, T.F., (1998). The data they are a-changin': Using real-time Earth and space science data in the classroom, Learning and Leading with Technology, 26(2).

Slater, T.F. (1999). Stellar inquiry. The Science Teacher, 66(9), 59-60.

Smith, R.C., & Taylor, E.F. (1995). Teaching physics online. American Journal of Physics, 63, 1090-1096.

Table 1

Astronomy Concepts Excerpted from the NRC National Science Education Standards

Objects and Changes in Earth and Sky [K-4]

1. Sky objects have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described. [K-4]

2. The sun provides the light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth. [K-4]

3. Objects in the sky have patterns of movement The sun, for example, appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons. [K-4]

Earth in the Solar System [5-8]

4. The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. [5-8]

5. Most objects in the solar systems are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses. [5-8]

6. Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. Gravity alone holds us to the earth's surface and explains the phenomena of the tides. [5-8]

7. The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of Sun's energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth's rotation on its axis and the length of the day. [5-8]

The Origin and Evolution of Earth and Universe [9.12]

8. The sun, the earth, and the rest of the solar system formed from a nebular cloud of dust and gas 4.6 billion years ago. The early earth was very different from the planet we live on today. [9-12]

9. The origin of the universe remains one of the greatest questions in science. The "big bang theory places the origin between 10 and 20 billion years ago, when the universe began in a hot dense state; according to this theory, the universe has been expanding ever since. [9-12]

10. Early in the history of the universe, matter, primarily the light atoms hydrogen and helium, clumped together. Billions of galaxies, each of which is a gravitationally bound cluster of billions of stars, now form most of the visible mass in the universe. [9-12]

11. Stars produce energy from nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium. These and other processes in stars have led to the formation of all the other elements. [9-12]

Note: Adapted from the 1996 NRC National Science Education Standards, available on the WWW at URL: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/html/

Table 2

Examples of Online Data Resources

Hubble Space Telescope Data

Archive Data Base (http://archive.stsci.edu/)

Press Release Data Base (http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr.html)

Sun

Solar Data Base (http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data)

Yohkoh X-ray Movie Maker (http://www.lmsal.com/SXT/sxt_movie.html)

Planetary Data

Planetary Photojournal (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/)

Mars Atlas (http://ic-www.arc.nasa.govlic/projects/bayes-group/Atlas/Mars)

Venus Atlas (http://www.jp.nasa.gov/magellan/images.html)

Observatory Data

Digitized Sky Survey DSS (http://sldatu.stsci.edu/dss/dss_form.html)

Messier Object Catalog (http://128.196.64.66/messier/indexes.html)

Galaxy Catalog (http://hercules.elte.hu/-frei/galaxy_catalog.html)

NGC Catalog (http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/-spider/ngc/ngc.html)

Nebula Catalog (http://www.seds.org/billa/twn/)

Virtual Telescopes

Sky View (http://skview.gsfc.nasa.gov/)

The Virtual Telescope (http://www.geocities.com/thesciencefiles/te/telescope.html)

Misc.

NASA Satellite Locator (http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/RealTime/JTrack/Spacecraft.html)

NOAA Satellite Locator (http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/Real/Time/JTrack/NoAA.html)

Real-Time Science Data Access Page (http://solar.physics.montana.edu/tslater/real-time/)

Handbook of Space Astronomy and Astrophysics (http://adswww.harvard.edu/books/hsaa/index.html)

MetaSites

NASA SpaceLink (www.spacelink.nasa.gov)

World Lecture Hall (http://www.utexas.edu/world/lecture/ast/)

Yahoo Astronomy (http://dir.yahoo.com/science/astronomy)

Table 3

Internet-based K-12 Astronomy Activities from Project CERES

K-4 Activities

Sky Paths: Monitoring and Predicting the Movement of Celestial Objects

Comparing Planet Sizes

Birthday Moons

MoonQuest

Every Picture Tells a Story

5-8 Activities

Investigating the Changing Polar Ice Caps on Earth and Mars

Planet Paths: Studying Planetary Orbital Paths

Planetary Image Processing Tutorial

Changing Faces: A Study of Solar and Planetary Rotation Rates

Analyzing Meteorological Data From Mars

MarsQuest

How Much Do You Weigh on Distant Planets?

Digital Images: From Satellites to the Internet

Sun's Impact an Earth's Temperature

9.12 Activities

MountainQuest

Proplyds: Searching for New Planets

The Expanding Universe

Galactic Inquiry

Life Cycle of Stars

Note: These lessons are free to users at http://btc.montana.edu/ceres

Table 4

Comparative Planetology Distance Learning Course Outline

Module 1: Perspectives on Sizes, Scales and National Standards

Module 2: How Can We Know What We Know

Module 3: Light and Digital Images

Module 4: Planetary Surfaces and Interior Processes

Module 5: Planetary Atmospheres and Fluid Dynamics

Module 6: Gravity, Orbits and Planetary Systems

Module 7: Bringing the Concepts, the Instruction, and the Classroom Together

Table 5

Studying the Universe with Space Observatories Distance Learning Course Outline

Module 1: Navigating the Internet, NASA Resources, and the National Standards

Module 2: Radiation, Atoms, Magnitudes and Colors

Module 3: Earth Based Telescopes, Atmospheric Effects and Orbiting Observatories

Module 4: Detectors, Digital Images, and Filters

Module 5: Thermal Radiation, Atomic Structure and Spectra

Module 6: Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram: Measuring Stellar Masses and Distances

Module 7: Physical Concepts for Stellar Evolution

Module 8: The Early Phases of Stellar Evolution

Module 9: Stellar Death: White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, Black Holes

Module 10: Galaxies: Types, Properties, Distribution,

Module 11: Violent Events in Galaxies: Radio Galaxies, Quasars, and AGN

Module 12: Radio Astronomy

Module 13: Redshift and the Hubble Law

Module 14: Nucleosysnthesis and the Evolution of Matter

Module 15: Bringing the Concepts, the Instruction, and the Classroom Together
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Date:Jun 22, 2001
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