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Continuing Ed: Project Based Astronomy

Calling all upper elementary and middle school teachers! Join us during Spring Break to strengthen your experience with the project-based learning instructional model as well as with astronomy and engineering design curriculum. Graduate credit available through Baker University.

When: Monday March 11th- Friday March 15th
In Class: 8:30am - 5:00pm, 3/11-15/19
Out-of-Class Unit Development: 3/18/19 - 3/22/19
Where: Museum at Prairiefire Classrooms, 5801 W 135th Street, Overland Park, KS 66223

Cost: $50


Optional 3 Graduate Credit Hours are available through Baker University at an additional charge of $210, paid to Baker University.
Register for Baker University Credits HERE

Course Description:

The two objectives of this professional development course are to: (1) familiarize teachers with the basics of the project-based learning (PBL) instructional model (2) provide the background content needed by teachers to help students achieve upper elementary and middle school Next Generation Science Standards that pertain to astronomy and engineering design. The basics of PBL will be taught by having the teachers work through a PBL scenario (develop a plan for an Astronomy Day celebration) during the five days of the course. One evening session will be arranged for night-time star gazing. To successfully complete the course for grade, teachers will be given two weeks following the end of classroom instruction to develop outside of class and submit a short, PBL unit in astronomy or space exploration appropriate for upper elementary or middle school students. At the end of the course, teachers will be able to:

- Contrast the physical characteristics, chemical composition, layering and other characteristics of objects in the solar system.
- Develop physical and conceptual models that emphasize the scale of the solar system and the objects within it.
-Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
-Analyze spatial relationships between the positions of the Sun, Moon, and Earth to explain lunar and solar eclipses, and the changing night sky and the cycles of the seasons and lunar phases as experienced from Earth.
-Infer seasonality using the angle formed between the axis of rotation of the planet and its orbital plane.
-Predict the apparent path of the Sun across the sky at various times of the year given the latitude of the observer on Earth.
-Model how impact craters form on planetary objects and discriminate them from volcanic craters using NASA imagery.
-Use maps of the night sky (star charts) to locate constellations and stars.
-State the advantages and disadvantages of project-based learning for K-12 science instruction.
-Outline the steps needed to complete development of a project-based unit of instruction.
-Develop a short, project-based unit in astronomy that includes a driving question, a project anchor, artifacts from the project, scaffolding activities, project schedule, plan for collaborative teamwork, assessments and rubrics.