Beyond Outreach: Expanding the UCI Astronomy Outreach Program to New Heights
The Astronomy Outreach Program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has three major components: (1) tours of the UCI Observatory and visits to local K-12 classrooms that bring hands-on activities and telescopes into the local schools, (2) an annual Teacher’s Workshop in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and (3) Visitor Nights at
the Observatory for the general public that include lectures on astrophysics topics and star gazing with our telescopes. Here we describe the results of our year long partnership with Grade 3–12 teachers to expand the tour and classroom visit portion of our program. We developed curricula and survey tools for Grades 3, 5, and high school that addresses specific California State Science Content Standards and amplify the impact of our outreach visits to their classrooms and their tours of the UCI Observatory. We describe the lessons and hands-on activities developed for the curricula, report on
the results of pre- and post-testing of the students to judge how much they learned and whether or not their attitudes about science have changed, and report on teachers’ responses to the program. Many of the lessons and activities we developed are available on our website.