Subaru Co-Sponsors Journey Week 2006

June 5, 2006

Laughter erupts from a classroom as a student stoically dons a twelve dollar version of NASA's twelve million dollar space suit, complete with personalized helmet, pressurized over layer, and a maximum absorption garment, otherwise known a diaper. A mesmerized silence fills a cafeteria full of students as beautiful images of galaxies and nebulae fade in and out of their view.

This year Subaru Telescope joined the Hawaii Department of Education Hilo-Laupahoehoe-Waiakea Complex, Gemini Observatory, and the W. M. Keck Observatory to bring the Carl Sagan Center for Earth and Space Science Education's Journey through the Universe program to the Hilo and Waimea communities. The program's goal is catalyzing long term community partnerships in support of science education.

The program centers on Journey Week and its three components: teacher training, family science nights, and classroom visits. This year Journey Week took place for the second time from January 20 through 27. During the week, over one hundred teachers participated in a teacher training workshop. Twenty-one of these teachers spent an additional morning in training to become a resource for other teachers. Over three hundred people participated in three public presentations called family science nights.

In classrooms, a team of 28 scientists and 9 volunteer logistics coordinators shared their enthusiasm for science with over 8000 students, reaching over 85% of the students in the school district. Seven of the scientists were visiting scientists sponsored by the Sagan center who gave the feature presentations. Eight of the twenty-one local scientists giving preview presentations were from Subaru Telescope.

For those of us on the organizing team, the greatest reward was the positive feedback from all participants including presenters, teachers, students, volunteer helpers, local businesses and other community groups. We are especially thankful that young first time presenters participated in the program and came back with increased confidence and enthusiasm.

Hawaii is currently one of nine sites receiving support from the Sagan Center, but next year we want to carry out the program using local talent alone, which we know exists in abundance. The local team's goal is to keep rekindling the excitement generated by Journey Week by providing return visits to the classrooms and opportunities for professional development both for teachers and researchers interested in visiting classrooms.

Did you know that science is not part of the required school curriculum in Hawai'i's public schools today? This is the time for everybody who cares about science literacy to come together to inspire students to embrace science as something both fun and relevant.

Journey through the Universe Hawaii Web Site

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