Astro-Science Workshop: Education and Public Outreach at the Adler Planetarium
Astro-Science Workshop, a 43-year-old program, is a unique opportunity for research astronomers at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago to work with gifted area high school students on project-based learning. In its current form, ASW is funded by a fellowship from the NSF and run by a graduate student from the University of Chicago. The immersion program is as much a learning experience for the graduate student as for the high school students who attend the 3-4 week course. Because the graduate student tailors the program to his/her interests, the program varies greatly from year to year. Recent topics include impacts in the solar system and solar astronomy. Last year the course included an extended weekend at the Yerkes Observatory. The students took images of asteroids with the telescopes on site, analyzed the data themselves, and submitted their measurements of the asteroids' positions to the Minor Planet Center, some of which have already been published on the ADS. The plan for Summer 2007 is a 3-week course on the formation of the Solar System, in which students will explore the near-space environment with high-altitude balloon-born instruments that they build themselves. ASW provides a unique opportunity for an informal learning instituion to connect high school students with astronomers and institutions of higher learning. It has provided over a thousand students with college-level instruction and exposure to the cutting edge of astronomical research.
Grodnicki, L. R., Hammergren, M., & Puckett, A. (2006). Astro-Science Workshop: Education and Public Outreach at the Adler Planetarium. Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 38, 1031.