The Results of an Era of Teacher Professional Development at McDonald Observatory
During the past decade, McDonald Observatory has been developing and refining its Teacher Professional Development Workshops, many of which have been supported by NASA. Metrics include attendance, perceived knowledge gain, and readiness to apply what was learned in the classroom. Evaluations show impact through the classroom application at five to six months after the workshops and through consistently high positive workshop results.
This paper will show that a) our Teacher Professional Development Workshops are consistently well attended, b) the workshops improve teachers’ confidence and their understanding of concepts, c) teachers enjoy unique interactions with astronomers and engineers, d) teachers appreciate hands-on and inquiry-based activities that are modeled and tied to state and national standards, and e) many teachers experience using the activities in their classrooms with good results.