Partnership with Connect with STEM

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For the 2015-16 academic year, we are are excited to be working with Connect With STEM (CwS) to extend our guest astronomer video discussions to new schools.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 2.58.00 PMThrough CwS are partnered with Bronx Charter School for the Arts, a public elementary school in Bronx, NY, to bring guest astronomers into to their classrooms.

Connect with STEM is “a vibrant and growing pool of accomplished and professional champions of STEM, called Connectors, who wield their personal and professional networks in the service of making the STEM fields come alive for our partner schools.” Prof. Ryan Hickox will be serving as the Connector for Bronx Arts, working with teachers to coordinate video discussions with guest scientists that will enhance the excitement of the science curriculum and make real science come alive for the students.

AstroConnect Spring 2015

In Spring 2015 continued our exploratory program of AstroConnect with classrooms in the Upper Valley region:

We focused this program on X-ray astronomy and black holes. Our guest astronomers were:

Each classroom participated in multiple with guest astronomers, with questions prepared by the students in advance based on the articles. Our high school class at KUA was a repeat from last year; the Lebanon discussions reached multiple classes and will be our first discussions at the middle school level.

AstroConnect Spring 2014

In Spring 2014 we carried out an exploratory program of AstroConnect with two high school classrooms in the Upper Valley region:

The focus of this spring’s program was on X-ray astronomy and black holes. Our guest astronomers were:

Each classroom participated in three Skype discussions with guest astronomers, with questions prepared by the students in advance based on the articles. The program was successful and both classrooms have expressed interest in continuing the program in 2014-15.

Program overview

AstroConnect is a program being developed at Dartmouth College to connect active research scientists with K-12 and college classrooms via video chat.

Motivation
A primary goal of science education at any level is to promote understanding of the process of contemporary scientific inquiry. One powerful way to achieve this is for students to explore current research, interact directly with the leading scientist, and reflect on the ‘nature of science’ using well-crafted prompts.

Implementation
In the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Dartmouth we have introduced a program in which students connect with a guest astronomer through video chat via Skype or Google Hangouts. The in-class discussions require a small time commitment from scientists (20-30 min, with little or no need for preparation) while providing students direct access to the cutting edge of modern astronomy. We are currently expanding these activities to local high school classrooms.

An overview of the implementation is given in the schematic below (click on the link for a full-size version):

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Get involved!
We are continuing the exploratory program for AstroConnect for the 2015-16 academic year, and are looking for additional classrooms and scientists to participate. If interested, please be in touch at ryan.c.hickox@dartmouth.edu.