Astronomy lecturerStudying the Universe with
Space Observatories:

Recent NASA missions have rapidly increased our ability to explore and understand the structure, dynamics and evolution of our universe. Mysteries from the inner workings of stars to the formation of galaxies and the beginnings of the universe itself are being unraveled with each new observation. At the same time, growth of the internet has allowed for rapid and direct dissemination of fundamental discoveries and scientific results to the public, sometimes even as they occur, and often without adequate scientific context or commentary. This course will provide the conceptual and scientific background necessary for understanding and interpreting the results of missions related to galactic and extragalactic space science. There has never been a more exciting time to become knowledgeable and involved in NASA's plan for the exploration of deep space.

Instructor
Dr. Chad L. Davies is Assistant Professor of Physics at Gordon College, in Barnesville, GA, where he teaches both physics and astronomy and is involved in developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Chad earned his PhD in physics at the University of Florida, studying galactic disk systems.

CREDIT: Physics 580 - 3 graduate semester credits
PREREQUISITES: Bachelor's degree, professional teaching certificate, and at least one year of 9-12 teaching experience.

For course scheduling and registration information, go to the National Teachers Enhancement Network.


Comparative Planetology: Establishing a Virtual Presence in the Solar System
As viewed by the modern astronomer, the solar system is more than 70 diverse worlds interacting as a dynamic system. This online course for K-12 in-service teachers will focus on fundamental questions driving NASA's exploration of the solar system: How did the solar system form? What's in it, and how is it arranged? What does the study of other worlds (planets, moons, asteroids. and comets) teach us about our own? How do we learn about other worlds? How are these worlds similar and different? How do they interact, forming mini-systems within the solar system? What are their surfaces, atmospheres, and interiors like, and how do we know? By taking advantage of NASA's virtual presence in the solar system, course participants will conduct individual investigations and explore how K-12 students can use similar tools to conduct authentic scientific inquiries. Course participants will learn how to integrate NASA products (online images, WWW databases, and other resources) effectively in the classroom by adapting resources for classroom use.

Instructor
Elizabeth E. Roettger, PhD, is an astronomy education consultant with Ed-Ventures in Chicago, Illinois. After earning her PhD in astrophysics from John Hopkins University, she worked at both NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory studying comets and asteroids at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. Prior to joining Ed-Ventures, she worked as an astronomer and public educator at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum.

Co-instructor in this course is Donna Governor, an award-winning 5th grade teacher at Liberty Middle School in Forsyth County, GA. She has worked on several exemplary internet-based science curriculum materials development projects including the MSU CERES Project.

CREDIT: Physics 514 - 3 graduate semester credits.
PREREQUISITES: Bachelor's degree, professional teaching certificate, and at least one year of K-12 teaching experience.

For course scheduling and registration information, go to the National Teachers Enhancement Network.


Astrobiology for Teachers
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the universe. It defines itself as an interdisciplinary science at the intersection of physics, astronomy, biology, geology, and mathematics, to discover where and under what conditions life can arise and exist in the universe. The course topics will cover the discovery of planetary systems around other stars, the nature of habitable zones around distant stars, the existence of life in extreme environments including the hydrothermal ecosystems of Yellowstone National Park and the cryogenic ecosystems of Antarctica. These concepts will serve as a foundation to study possible extraterrestrial ecosystems on objects like Mars and Europa. Students will also investigate the methods used in the ongoing search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). The overarching theme of the course will be to align the teaching of astrobiology concepts with the National Science Education Standards and the NASA Roadmap for Astrobiology Research. Sponsored by NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Instructor
Dr. Ed Prather is a member of the Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) Team at the University of Arizona, Steward Observatory. Prior to his current position, he was the Astrobiology Projects Coordinator for the CERES Project, at Montana State University. Dr. Prather received his Ph.D. in Physics Education from the University of Maine.

CREDIT: Physics 582 - 3 graduate semester credits.
PREREQUISITES: Bachelor's degree; one year of experience teaching science; college level biology and college level physics or astronomy. Students must currently be teaching science at the middle or high school level.

For course scheduling and registration information, go to the National Teachers Enhancement Network.


The Invisible Universe Online: The Search for Astronomical Origins
The Invisible Universe Online covers the long chain of events from the birth of the universe in the Big Bang, through the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets by focusing on the scientific questions, technological challenges, and space missions pursing the search for origins in alignment with the goals and emphasis of the National Science Education Standards. This course builds upon your existing astronomy knowledge and adds layers of understanding so that you have a deeper appreciation for the multiwavelength universe. In addition, many of our homework activities and discussions focus on teaching course concepts as a method to enhance your deeper understandings of the content. It is not necessary that you teach astronomy at this point in your career, only that you are open to critically thinking about how this content can be best taught to deal with learner misconceptions.

Instructor
Dr. Tim Slater is Associate Professor of Astronomy at The University of Arizona Steward Observatory where he conducts research on the teaching and learning of astronomy and space science. He served as the lead project science director for Montana State University's CERES Project and develops K-12 curriculum materials for astronomy that are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. He is currently the Director of the University of Arizona Science and Mathematics Education Center.

CREDIT: Physics 583 - 3 graduate semester credits.
PREREQUISITES: Bachelor's degree; one year of experience teaching science; college level biology and college level physics or astronomy. Students must currently be teaching science at the middle or high school level.

For course scheduling and registration information, go to the National Teachers Enhancement Network.