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Journey Through The Universe in February 2008 - Astronomers Share Their Work With Big Island Keikis FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Issued by:
Inge Heyer
Joint Astronomy Centre
Tel: 808 969 6524 (office)

Issued by:
Janice Harvey
Gemini Observatory
Tel: 808-974-2603 (office)

Images and Web Links appear below.

22 January 2008

Journey Through The Universe in February 2008 -
Astronomers Share Their Work With Big Island Keikis

February 1-8, 2008, brings the fourth annual Journey Through The Universe program to the Hilo/Waiakea/Laupahoehoe School Complex on the Big Island of Hawai`i. During this whole week, over forty astronomers and technical personnel from the Mauna Kea Observatories will visit local classrooms and share their work, their experience, and their love of science and exploration with keikis of all grade levels. Partnering with the Department of Education, and with support from a number of local sponsors, the program brings the scientists to K-12 classrooms.

But this experience is not only for the students. For the teachers, the Journey program features a number of educator workshops to provide science knowledge, local resource contacts, and ideas for their classrooms. For the whole family there will be a Family Science Night at the `Imiloa Astronomy Center, featuring fun activities, fascinating science speakers and a special planetarium show.

Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai`i is one of ten Journey sites nation-wide. Since its inception, it has become the premiere site in the nation, mainly due to the enthusiastic participation of such a large number of astronomy professionals.

The astronomers are all looking forward to the upcoming Journey week. Some have been with the program since the beginning, some are doing this for the first time this year.

"I feel that the week we participate in the classrooms is time well spent. To me, it is a case of effectively using your local expertise to make a big impact on your local community," says Dr. Scott Fisher of Gemini Observatory. "I will sheepishly admit, the little kids scared me at first. I even refused to go into the elementary schools for the first year! But now, I can see the power of getting the younger children excited and engaged in science, and in particular, science that is being done here on the Big Island."

“We would like Journey week to stimulate more contact and interaction between local scientists and teachers, in order to increase astronomy content in the schools,” says Dr. Richard Crowe, astronomer-in-residence at `Imiloa Astronomy Education Center.

“Every time I visit a class room I very much enjoy talking to the students and the teachers. The wonderful thing about visiting schools is that we reach the entire community: teachers, students, and through them, the parents as well. I hope that the teachers and astronomers will stay in touch to work on future class room projects, even further encouraging the students’ interest in nature and space,” says Dr. Kumiko Usuda of Subaru Telescope.

“If we inspire even one young student to continue studying science, our efforts will have been successful,” says Dr. Watson Varricatt of the Joint Astronomy Centre.

“This will be my third year with the Journey Program, and my second year in beautiful Hilo. I first peered through a telescope in 6th grade and saw planet Jupiter -I've been hooked on space ever since! Thank you for the privilege to share the excitement of space exploration (and the World's Cheapest Space Suit) with the students and teachers of Journey Week!,” says Kevin Caruso, member of the national Journey Team.

“As someone who went through the Hawaii Public School system, it is extremely gratifying to me to be able to contribute and give back to the students. To share the excitement and wonders of the Universe with them and encourage them to follow their dreams by literally shooting for the stars is great!” says John Hamilton of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo.

“As a long-time resident of the Big Island, I greatly appreciate the natural beauty, cultural wonders, and scientific majesty around me. The opportunity to share my love and respect for the island, especially Mauna Kea, with Big Island students really excites me. I look forward to having fun with the students, and to all of us learning something new,” says Pablo McLoud of Subaru Telescope.

“Last year was my first time as a Journey scientist, and I enjoyed it immensely. I talked to 1st-5th graders about craters: craters in Hawaii, in other places on Earth, on the Moon, and in other places in our Solar System, exploring ways in which craters can be formed and ways in which they can disappear over time. I am looking forward to going back again this year and talk about galaxies, and what happens when they collide,” says Tom Geballe of Gemini Observatory.

“There is nothing more gratifying and inspiring than seeing the lights in the children’s eyes when they become aware of the greater cosmos surrounding them, and when they begin to ask questions about it. Hopefully some of them will keep asking questions and join the scientists in a life-long pursuit of inquiry and exploration,” says Inge Heyer of the Joint Astronomy Centre. “I look forward to every classroom visit.”

Scheduled Journey week events include:
1. Educator Workshops: Feb. 1 (Fri) for master teachers (teacher coordinators), Feb. 2 (Sat) for all participating teachers, Feb. 3 (Sun) for all participating scientists. Other teacher training classes will take place later in the year. K-12 teachers receive training, lesson plans, and programs including inquiry-based, hands-on activities and assessment rubrics mapped to the National and Hawai`i State Science Education Standards. Astronomers will be trained in communicating their knowledge and enthusiasm effectively to children of various ages. The knowledge gained in these workshops will be applied to Journey week and throughout the school year.
2. Classroom visits (Feb. 4-8): Over forty astronomy professionals will visit local K-12 class rooms, sharing their work with about 8,000 students. They will provide knowledge, personal interaction, and examples of career possibilities to the students of the Big Island.
3. Family Science Night (Feb. 6): `Imiloa Astronomy Center will host a night of science activities, speakers, and planetarium shows for the whole family. Tickets are required (to prevent overcrowding), which are distributed free of charge through the participating Journey schools. Members of the public may also attend this free event; they may request tickets through Gemini Observatory (Janice Harvey, 808-974-2603, The event will take place from 4pm to 8pm that day.

Journey Through The Universe is a national education initiative developed by the National Center for Space, Earth and Flight Sciences Education. It is funded at the national level by grants from NASA’s Office of the Chief Education and Science Mission Directorate. However, it is the local team of sponsors and organizers who make this event possible. The primary sponsors include the Hawai`i Department of Eduation Hilo/Waiakea/Laupahoehoe Complex, Gemini Observatory, The University of Hawai`i at Hilo, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hilo and the Joint Astronomy Centre. Other participating sponsors include the Bank of Hawai`i, Hawai`i Island Chamber of Commerce, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay, the Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, KWXX Radio, Hawai`i Island Economic Development Board, the Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee, and all the Mauna Kea Observatories: University of Hawai`i 0.6m and 2.2m Telescopes, NASA Infrared Telescope, Gemini Observatory North, United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, James Clerk Maxwell Submillimeter Telescope, Subaru Telescope, Caltech Submillimeter Telescope, Smithsonian Submillimeter Array, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Canada-France-Hawai`i Telescope and W.M. Keck Observatory.

The local Journey organizing team includes Valerie Takata (Superintendent Hilo/Waiakea/Laupahoehoe Complex); Dory Miyashita and Bess Jennings (Department of Education, Hilo/Waiakea/Laupahoehoe Complex); Gail Loeffler and Dr. Richard Crowe (`Imiloa Astronomy Center); Janice Harvey, Andolie Marten and Peter Michaud (Gemini Observatory); and Inge Heyer (Joint Astronomy Centre).


Students working with astronomy trading cards. Photo by Subaru Telescope.

Students working on astronomy projects. Photo by Institute for Astronomy, Hilo.

Astronomy story time in the class room. Photo by Subaru Telescope.

Drawing our Solar System in the class room. Photo by Joint Astronomy Centre.

Making our Solar System in the class room. Photo by Joint Astronomy Centre.

A student trying on the world’s cheapest space suit. Photo by Gemini Observatory.

Modeling planets and moons using sports gear. Photo by Gemini Observatory.

Working with a model in the class room. Photo by CalTech Submillimeter Observatory.

Combining astronomy and art to make models. Photo by Gemini Observatory.

Web Links

Journey Through The Universe in Hilo
Journey Through The Universe National
Joint Astronomy Centre Outreach
Gemini Observatory
This press release (bottom of page)
Contact: JAC outreach. Updated: Thu Oct 2 15:09:10 HST 2008

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