Education Partnerships in Teacher Training: McDonald Observatory and the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
McDonald Observatory in remote, west Texas has a long history of providing K-12 teacher professional development (PD) through workshops at the observatory. Recently, we have started a new teacher PD program in partnership with the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) to provide teacher training and establish a network of teachers and students engaged in the Giant Magellan Telescope. The GMT Teacher workshop has been offered to 30 teachers during the summers of 2014 and 2015; continued engagement has been offered to the teachers through online resources, networking, participation in other teacher PD opportunities and conferences. Evaluation has been conducted using several metrics immediately post workshops, and long term followup evaluation methods. At the close of the 2014 workshop teachers reported learning about the telescopes and nighttime observing, and the promise of the GMT. Consensus statements at the close of the workshop also spoke about passion for and appreciation of astronomy. The major source of recommendation during the year one workshop was to provide more detailed information or activities on the GMT during the workshops. While this does prove challenging to incorporate a full slate of activities on the GMT before the telescope is even built, we are currently working to produce more take-home materials which are GMT specific, continue to make general connections to telescope technology and science that are applicable to the GMT with the teachers. McDonald Observatory and GMTO will continue to partner to offer teacher PD related to the GMT, and increase the network of teachers and students engaged in the GMT, up and through the beginning of its operations in 2020. We will present the current highlights, evaulation outcome results, and future outlook for this program and collaboration.
Finkelstein, K., Preston, S. L., Hemenway, M., Malasarn, D., & Wetzel, M. (2015). Education Partnerships in Teacher Training: McDonald Observatory and the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization. IAU General Assembly, 22, 2245949.
Type of Publication
Finkelstein, Keely D. | Preston, Sandra | Hemenway, Mary K. | Malasarn, Davin | Wetzel, Marc
University of Texas at Austin | McDonald Observatory
American Astronomical Society
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America