Journey through the Universe:
The NASA Lunar Science Institute is partnering with the Journey through the Universe team for an annual two-week EPO program.
The NLSI’s involvement in classrooms, public venues, and teacher professional development extends into the communities throughout the country with the help of the “Journey through the Universe” program.
Journey through the Universe is a national science education initiative that engages entire communities—students, teachers, families, and the public—using education in the Earth and space sciences and space exploration to inspire and educate. Journey through the Universe is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, which facilitates Journey events in ten communities across the country.
One of the Journey instantiations is conducted by the Gemini Observatory. Gemini’s Journey program, now in its seventh year, serves the community in and around Hilo, Hawaii. Key partners in Gemini’s Journey program include the various observatories operating on Mauna Kea, the Hawaii State Department of Education, the University of Hawaii, the Imiloa Astronomy Center, and the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI).
Hilo, Hawaii is one of the ten communities around the nation that are designated Journey through the Universe sites. Astronomy associated scientists and professionals have a deep desire to participate with Hilo schools, as do the local educators and students. Journey through the Universe Week is a solution that brings the two together, and:
• Raises awareness of science in classrooms.
• Helps students meet the Hawaiian Content and Performance Standards and national standards.
• Taps into the Hilo community’s resources.
• Improves teaching staff in content fields.
• Educates parents and the community in the space science enterprise.
This Journey program typically runs in February-March and features a Family Science Day public event at Imiloa Astronomy Center, Family Science Night at the University of Hawaii Hilo, an astronomer workshop, a teacher workshop, and a master teacher training session.
Through audience participation, the family science events provide a family learning experience in exciting human space flight, with Earth and space science subjects that are connected to the curriculum.
K-12 Education Modules training is provided during the educator workshops. These Modules include content overviews; inquiry-based, hands-on activities; assessment rubrics, and resource listings.
The heart of the program is a full week in which 48 astronomy educators (lunar scientists, astronomers and observatory engineers) are sent into classrooms to explain to over 8,000 K-12 students how they are exploring the universe. Classroom visits by these astronomy educators are designed to provide students with standards-based science content, allow students to personally interact with scientists and engineers, and inspire students to further their education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
NLSI’s participation in Hawaii’s Journey through the Universe program provides students and the public with a new understanding of recent, current, and future NASA lunar exploration. It also introduces them lunar-related educational resources available to classrooms and families. The NLSI team leverages the Journey experience to engage the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, the Imiloa Astronomy Center, and Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center with NLSI lunar E/PO programs including International Observe the Moon Night and Exploration Uplink. It also provides an opportunity to recruit University of Hawaii students and local amateur astronomers to join NASA’s Lunar Meteoroid Impact Observation Program and participate in lunar research that will support the science of NASA’s upcoming Lunar Atmosphere and dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission.