• NASA
  • IPAC

January-June 2008 updates for Mr. DeWolf

Published: June 15, 2008

Since I started with the Spitzer Teachers Research program last January, I have added little thus far with classroom activities. We have been doing some of the lessons from Active Astronomy ever since I field- tested some of them for SOFIA some years back. We use these mostly in our freshmen level Earth & Space Science course, but a few are used in the upper level Astronomy course as well. I have used district and personal funds to increase the number of kits to do these activities to 10. I plan on having these used not just in our classrooms at Chippewa Hills, but also for PD within our regional Intermediate School District and at sessions I present at conferences, starting with the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Annual Conference in early October. I have yet to schedule time for workshops within our ISD but plan to do so this summer.

Students have used Spot and Leopard to both look at Lynds Dark Nebulae with high visual opacity and to see what ones had been previously imaged by Spitzer. This helped find targets for our research project, ultimately leading to bringing 2 students out to the SSC back in early June. Some of my students took it a bit further and used available data to do 3 color images of various targets.

I should have at least one section of Astronomy in the upcoming school year as well as a new after school Astronomy Club. These students will continue to assist with our ongoing research - especially in the after school program.

When we get back to school in September, I plan on getting the local paper to do an article on our two students involvement in the research project and their trip out to the SSC in June. I hope that this will create additional interest in astronomy, and Spitzer, and get more students to become involved in our new after school club.

Later in the summer, when the next set of data is available from LDN 981, I will be able to have one of my students work on it with me - and some of the campers in my astronomy class at Camp Watonka, in Hawley, PA.

So far, I have learned a little about how to use Terminal with my MacBook that helps set up our mosaics for photometry work with APT. This is probably the biggest plus to meeting with everyone at the SSC - learning how to use the various pieces of software. I'm pretty confident that I can apply what I learned to help my students work through the next data.

I've been involved with so many different projects and programs outside of my regular classroom instruction duties that I am not really sure that our superintendent, school board, or public in general fully understand what opportunities are now available to students at our high school. One of my major goals for the fall is to do a lot of promotion of Spitzer. RBSE, GLOBE, etc. in an attempt to build our new after school program, as well as get more students interested in taking our full range of Earth and Space elective courses - and the opportunity to do research!

Well, we couldn't go to the January AAS, but we still started the 2022 class! The 2021 class will go to the June AAS.