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NSTA National Conference
Philadelphia, PA
March 18 - 21, 2010

Connecting Science Past to Science Future

KICP Participants
Archive: KICP @ NSTA National Conferences

2010 NSTA National Conference in Philadelphia
Connecting Science Past to Science Future
March 18 - 21, 2010

KICP Participants

  • Randall H. Landsberg
    Director of Education & Outreach
    KICP/University of Chicago

  • Reid A. Sherman
    Graduate Student, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago


Google Sky, WorldWide Telescope and Celestia in the Undergraduate Non-science Major Classroom & Lab
(click to download, 20 MB)

Randall H. Landsberg
Director of Education & Outreach, KICP/University of Chicago

Brief Description: Explore innovative interactive labs and self-directed modules that utilize new, emerging, software tools, specifically Google Sky WorldWide Telescope (WWT), and Celestia.

Address National Standard by: Using astronomy as a unifying concept that: explores technology, models, & measurement; engages students in scientific inquiry, delves into specific content and techniques (e.g., manipulating large datasets), & demonstrates science as a human endeavor.

Abstract: Undergraduate non-science major student experiences at the University of Chicago are being transformed by employing new, visually rich, astronomical software to incorporate current research, data, and discoveries into more compelling, and participatory educational experiences. This has enriched the curriculum by making it more reflective of current astronomical research practices and more reflective of the "participatory media culture" that today's students thrive in; providing the added benefit of cultivating valuable life-long learning and cyber-infrastructure skills. This has been accomplished via the development of innovative interactive labs and self-directed modules that utilize new, emerging, software tools, specifically Google Sky WorldWide Telescope (WWT), and Celestia. These tools/technologies are essentially desktop planetaria that provide contextual views of astronomical objects, real time access to vast research databases and, most importantly, the ability to incorporate new data and to produce user created content (Web 2.0). These new media exercises give students hands-on visual experiences with key astronomical concepts: from the evolution of stars, to the expansion of and large-scale structure of the universe, to dark matter. Join us on an exploration of these student exercises and the classroom uses of these technologies (e.g. WWT tours and programming in KML in Google Sky).


Urban Astronomy
(click to download, 36.9 MB)

Randall H. Landsberg
Director of Education & Outreach, KICP/University of Chicago

Reid A. Sherman
Graduate Student, University of Chicago

Brief Description: Bright lights, BIG city, but still possible to engage students with hands-on explorations like using tall buildings to measure the size of the Universe.

Address National Standard: By using astronomy as a unifying concept that explores models, measurement, & technology; and to model the process of science (e.g., inquiry), delve into specific content (evolution of the universe) & demonstrate that science is a human endeavor.

Abstract: Test-drive hands-on student activities that combine cool, current, astronomy research and everyday aspects of urban living: (e.g., using local tall buildings as a first step in measuring the size of the universe, or exploring how a police radar gun is related to analyzing distant galaxies). These activities reflect the best of all worlds, as they were developed by combining inner-city high school students, public school teachers and university astronomers to create student experiences that are engaging, grounded in the reality of the classroom, educational, and connected to wonders of modern science. The activities were developed as part of the very successful (i.e., 100% to college, >50% SMET majors) Space Explorers Program. Join us for a session that will help you to literally connect the ordinary (e.g., a toilet bowl plunger as a earth moon model) with the edge of the universe. In sixty minutes you will explore the 14 billion year history of the universe and a suite of field-tested, hands-on activities that connect the everyday/ordinary with the cosmic/extraordinary.


Edgy Science 3
(click to download, 89.9 MB)

Randall H. Landsberg
Director of Education & Outreach, KICP/University of Chicago

Christopher M. Smith
Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP), UC San Diego

Jaya Yodh, Ph.D.
Center for the Physics of Living Cells (CPLC)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Brief Description: From brains to the Big Bang, take a crash course in forefront science with the NSF Physics Frontier Centers including hands-on activities and summer opportunities.

Address my chosen National Standard by: Providing real world examples of scientific inquiry in current research projects (e.g., observing the evolution of the universe), specific emerging science content, and by demonstrating that there are still discoveries to be made.

Abstract: Physics Frontier Centers (PFCs) are literally supposed to rewrite the laws of physics. These interdisciplinary research centers span a broad range of superlative science: the coldest, fastest, hottest, biggest and smallest; and span the globe (e.g., South Pole). Join us for some science headline news, a series of demos and activities grounded in the classroom but based on the latest in cosmology, biophysics, particle physics, and plasma physics (e.g., a fortune cookie collider and virtual cells); and a smorgasbord of opportunities for you and your students: distance learning (including alternative media such as YouTube and podcasts), research internships, outreach programs, visiting science shows, and field tested activities that integrate science on the edge.


Astronomy Conversations: A Partnership Between University of Chicago & Adler Planetarium
(click to download, 45.3 MB)

Randall H. Landsberg
Director of Education & Outreach, KICP/University of Chicago

Larry Ciupik
Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum

Brief Description: This program brings research scientists and their data into a format and setting where the public can share in the excitement of discovery.

Address my chosen National Standard by: by using technology to visualize large and complex data, thus making it more accessible; and by having researchers discuss this visualized data directly with the public thus demonstrating science a human endeavor

Abstract: Astronomy Conversations Overview
Learn how Chicago researchers are using multimedia technology (e.g., 3D displays and ultra high-resolution tile displays) at the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum's Space Visualization Lab to interactively explore forefront research with small groups, and how this might be extended to your home institution. Astronomy Conversations are an attempt to make current astrophysical and cosmological research accessible and exciting. This is done by bringing researchers to a location where the public can be found, the Adler Planetarium; and by using visual tools to make complex and evolving research something that can be easily experienced by all museum visitors. The heart of Astronomy Conversations is an ongoing collaboration between the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) and the Adler. Hallmarks of this program include the use of real data, providing virtual visits to remote observatory sites (e.g., the South Pole), and involving active researchers in dialogues with the public.

Program Goals:

  • To Use Viz Tools to Make Science Accessible to the Public
  • To Present Current Research to the Public @ Adler & Beyond
  • To Improve Researcher Communications Skills
  • To Expand Broadly Disseminate these Efforts via Other Media (e.g., digital domes, undergraduate instruction and Web 2.0 applications)


Archive: KICP @ NSTA National Conferences


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Last update: October 27, 2010