ITEAMS (Innovative Technology-Enabled Astronomy for Middle Schools) is a three-year ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) Strategies project funded by the National Science Foundation. ITEAMS, targeting grades 5-8 girls and underserved minority students in OST programs, has a twofold goal. We draw on the widespread, intrinsic interest of students in astronomy and robotics to: a) provide inspiration for them to pursue information and communication technology (ICT) careers, and b) increase their mastery of foundational subject matter so they are better prepared for the rigor of more demanding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) coursework.
Central to the project are the Harvard College Observatory's (HCO's) MicroObservatory robotic telescopes that can be accessed from school, home, or libraries at http://www.microobservatory.org. Students control the telescopes, located in MA and AZ, to get solar system and deep space images. The following day, the requested images are delivered to the students by email for processing (colorizing, enhancing, altering the dynamic range, creating simulations and visualizations, and more). Volunteers—retired engineers and amateur astronomers—assist the students working with the robotic telescopes and processing their astronomical images. ITEAMS students also take field trips to HCO, area science museums, and high technology labs and companies. Career explorations, including classroom group discussions with current and retired STEM professionals, are integrated into program materials, in part to link the analytic and processing abilities students used to enhance images to work place skills. Both educators and volunteers attend regular workshops. Seven Eastern Massachusetts schools have been involved, one each in Boston, Fall River, Lynn, and Watertown, and three in Cambridge.
P.I.: Philip Sadler
For more information, please contact: Bruce Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org
To use ITEAMS activities with MicroObservatory, click here.
To use ITEAMS Teacher Resource Material, click here.