Planetariums in K-12 Science Education

Laatsch, Shawn (2004) Planetariums in K-12 Science Education. In: ASP Conference Series: NASA Office of Space Science Education and Public Outreach Conference. ASP Conference Series: NASA Office of Space Science Education and Public Outreach Conference, 319 . Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA, p. 174.


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Planetariums in the K-12 schools systems and Universities are often the main resource in bringing astronomy and space science to students. In this panel discussion the author will discuss the role of smaller planetaria and the unique opportunities they can provide for students. These include individualized attention, live interactive programming, and on-site visits to schools and other educational groups. In the last few years the importance of astronomy in K-12 curricula has been challenged. School systems often rely only on state standards and teach very minimal astronomy to their students. These standards are often based on Project 2061: Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS 1993) and the National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996). Both of these publications, while well intended, cut short the importance of fundamental astronomical concepts in the classroom. They often give only one of two minor indicators per level, and these in many cases miss the mark. For example, the grades 3-5 Benchmarks state ""learning constellations is not important in itself"" and ""Once students have looked at the stars, moon, and particular educational value comes from memorizing their names or counting them."" These statements emphasize process over content. Good science education needs both. What should be taught to students at the K-12 level in regards to astronomy? Is process more important than content? We will examine these question in detail during the panel discussions.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 08:52
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:26

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