Report from Headquarters

Space Foundation to Deliver Astronomy Course

Written by: developer

Space Foundation to Deliver Astronomy Course The Space Foundation will deliver a week of Space Across the Curriculum programming for teachers and students in the suburban Chicago Lyons Township Consortium, June 14-18. The Consortium includes: Hinsdale Community Consolidated School District 181, LaGrange Highlands School District 106, LaGrange School District 102, LaGrange School District 105 South, Lyons Elementary School District 103, Lyons Township High School District 204, and Western Springs District 101.

The intense week-long class, "Astronomy Principles for the Classroom: Kinesthetic Astronomy," features space-related curriculum based on national standards and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles. This class has been approved for graduate credit through Aurora (Ill.) University.

The Space Foundation will deliver the program in a "two classrooms" concept for 24 teachers and 24 students. Teachers and students will be taught similar content in rooms adjacent to each other and then brought together several times a day for key hands-on activities and design challenges.

At the end of each class day, students and teachers will write journal entries on the day's events, enabling them to compare notes on how the curriculum and subject matter can be incorporated into their district's curriculum and their classrooms, electives, clubs, and schools. The students will have as much input as the teachers on how these ideas can find their way into the classroom.

"The 'two classrooms concept' is a valuable tool for school districts to integrate space and STEM principles into all areas of curriculum," said Bryan DeBates, Space Foundation senior aerospace education specialist. "Having the teachers and students work together to formulate curriculum for their classrooms gives everyone buy-in on the new content; teachers are more willing to use the activities in the classroom and students are more open to learning the content by actively engaging in the lessons."

The Space Foundation provided professional development in STEM education at Lyons Township High School District 204 in early 2009.

More about Space Foundation partnerships with school districts across the country and its Space Across the Curriculum programs can be found here.

This article is part of Space Watch: June 2010 (Volume: 9, Issue: 6).