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Through the excitement of space, the Hawai`i Space Grant Consortium is developing an educational foundation of scholarship, research, and exploration, enabling the scientists and engineers of the future.

New S U C C E S S       S T O R Y

Exploring Planets in the Classroom

K-12 Education Project

A summer teacher workshop that grew into an
Internet smash hit


Put classroom-tested activities about space exploration into the hands of a teacher and what you'll get is a classroom full of eager students learning math, science, and technology. This is learning by doing - - at its best.

Hawaii Space Grant is helping teachers and resource specialists around the globe find hands-on activities that match science standards in elementary, middle, high school, and college classrooms. In 1996, the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium initiated a new education project on the web by posting activities from our long-running summer teacher workshops called, "Exploring Planets in the Classroom."

Initially, these summer workshops were limited to local, in-service teachers and librarians. Tuition wavers, and travel and lodging stipends allowed greater participation of our outer-island neighbors, but our facilities and staff could handle only 45 participants each summer. Then in 1998 and 1999, we expanded our outreach to a selected group of teachers and their scientist partners from the mainland. They were able to participate in the summer workshops through funding from the LPI Broker/Facilitator Program. However, the website has been the key to the successful, widespread distribution of our educational resources.

Our on-line activities span the solar system and the geological processes that shaped the planets: planetary properties, volcanology, impact craters, tectonics, gradation, gravity forces, rockets, the Moon, Mars, and remote sensing.

Classroom teachers are not the only people accessing our site. We've been contacted by student teachers and students themselves. People are using the activities from "Exploring Planets in the Classroom" at other teacher workshops as well as in their own classrooms. Prentice Hall publishers are using activities from "Exploring Planets in the Classroom" in their new series of middle school textbooks. The site receives between 5,000 and 10,000 hits per month.

"Exploring Planets in the Classroom" is receiving a variety of awards and recognition:

New Scientist (Site of the Day)
Exploratorium (10 cool sites awards)
School Zone (from the U.K.)
Intelibuzz (Cool Site Award)
OpenHere (an index search site for families)
Education Planet (educational database and search site)
Study Web (educational database and search site),
SciLinks (a new endeavor by the National Science Teachers Association to link textbooks with top math and science websites)

Selected comments we've received about "Exploring Planets in the Classroom":

"This is a website that seems to be a teacher's dream. The site earned the Exploratorium Ten Cool Sites award last November and has a wealth of links to related resources.
(12 January 2001)" -New Scientist

"I would like to use some of the materials from your spacegrant website in my college astronomy class and in summer workshops I do for teachers." -Physics Department, East Central University, Ada, OK

"I would like to copy and use all of your volcanology activities either with my fourth grade class, as a cooperative project with our high school chemistry classes, or as a live demonstration by our local college science department." - @rcsk12.org

"What a superb website. I've found many activities that will work in my classroom and they are so well written and ready to use." - Kansas City, MO

"I work for a pre-college program, based at Old Dominion University in Virginia. We are putting together resource binders included with activities for teachers to do with their students and I came across your site. - CHROME Regional Resource Manager

"I am a new teacher (46 years old) on the Navajo Reservation and resources and technology are scarce and sometimes they can be after thought....." - Navajo Reservation, Ft. Defiance, Arizona

"I would like to use How Much Rock Is in An Icy Moon in my AST 105 Lab class at the Community College of Southern Nevada."

"Our library is doing a summer reading program entitled "Cosmic Connections" and would like to use some of the excellent activities we found on your website." -Director, Winthrop Public Library, Winthrop, IA

"I am a teacher at a prison for adolescent boys. Our budget is very very low and I am writing for your help. We are doing a unit on volcanos and Hawaii--etc. etc." - Irma, WI

"I am doing my student teaching in a middle school in Indiana. I am preparing a unit covering the solar system."

space marker http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/
Communications: Hawaii Space Grant Office
Updated AUGUST 2002.