NITARP, the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, gets teachers involved in authentic astronomical research. We partner small groups of largely high school educators with a mentor professional astronomer for an original research project.
The educators incorporate the experience into their classrooms and share their experience with other teachers. The program runs January through January. Applications are available annually in May and due in September.
Some things that make this program different from many (if not most) other programs:
- Each team does original research using real astronomical data, not canned labs or reproductions of previously done research.
- Each team writes up the results of their research and presents it in a science poster session at an American Astronomical Society meeting (the AAS is the professional organization for astronomers in the US). The posters are distributed throughout the meeting, in amongst other researchers' work; the participants are not "given a free pass" because they are educators and students. Each team also presents the educational results of their experience in the program.
- The program runs over 13 months, not just a few days or weeks.
- Teachers are encouraged to involve their students from the beginning of the program.