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Paper: Repackaging Existing Education and Public Outreach Programs at McDonald Observatory’s Frank N. Bash Visitors Center to Celebrate the International Year of Astronomy
Volume: 400, Preparing for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy: A Hands-on Symposium
Page: 235
Authors: Cianciolo, F.; Hemenway, M.K.
Abstract: Some organizations present astronomy to the public all day (and night), every day. Many organizations may not have a lot of additional resources to create special programs for the International Year of Astronomy. One way to make our existing programs special is to repackage them in ways that align with the goals of IYA2009 and label them in such a way that they are perceived to be IYA2009 programs. At McDonald Observatory we will repackage a selection of our education and public outreach programs and label them IYA. These programs will include portions of our summer teacher professional development workshops that take place at McDonald Observatory and our daily public programs that occur at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center in Fort Davis, Texas. Our summer professional development programs for teachers, which train about 100 teachers each summer, will be modified to include a component the history of astronomy including Kepler’s Laws and Galileo’s use of the telescope. These components will be aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (state standards) and National Science Education Standards. A selection of the programs that we present to the general public who visit McDonald Observatory will also be repackaged. A good candidate for repackaging is the very popular Star Parties that take place outdoors in the amphitheater under dark west Texas skies on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Hundreds of people attend these Star Parties each evening, making them an excellent vehicle for carrying the IYA message. Repackaging programs for the International Year of Astronomy may generate new ideas for how we can address special themes as they arise and create additional interest for our audiences and programs in future years.
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