Published: August 15, 2011
Mr. DeWolf writes:
This past school year saw many exciting events occur. First, a change in the curriculum was approved by our Board of Education. Astronomy is now a 2 trimester course, with the 2nd trimester focusing on opportunities for student research. I am looking forward to many more students becoming involved in authentic research using available archival data. We also had a team of students involved in the Student PI (Planetary Investigators) program - a "spinoff" of the Mars Exploration Student Data Teams project out of Arizona State University. They entered a project in our regional science and engineering fair that characterized the suitability of 10 potential landing sites for manned lunar missions based on data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Another student worked on investigating correlations between solar flares and changes in Earth's magnetic field using data from our THEMIS magnetometer and the ACE spacecraft data archive. He placed 2nd in our regional fair and presented his project at the National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology annual student research symposium.
I have also become involved with the NASA Explorer School program, and was awarded a teacher recognition program workshop through a competitive application process. I attended The Solar System Inside and Out workshop in July at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. One of the sessions was about using the Hubble Legacy Archive - another great resource for my students to access this coming school year. I am also now part of the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program of NASA's SOFIA mission as one of the first teachers in the pilot group of 6 from across the country. I will be spreading the word about infrared astronomy at a number of upcoming teacher workshops.