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Galileo Educator Network (GEN)


Jump down to GEN Project Overview

2012 GEN PDI Opportunity

Bringing Galileo, NASA, and the Next Generation Science Standards to Teachers:

Astronomy Professional Development for Teacher Leaders, Teacher Educators, and Professional Development Providers

A NASA Galileo Educator Network (GEN) Professional Development Institute (PDI)

presented by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) and partners

Dates: Saturday–Sunday, September 29–30, 2012, 8:30 am–4:30 pm
Location: Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois
Cost: FREE for accepted participants

Become a NASA Galileo Educator Fellow through this 15-hour Professional Development Institute (PDI) for teacher leaders, teacher educators, and PD providers. The Galileo Educator Network (GEN) PDI emphasizes the integration of science content, science practices, and the nature of science as outlined in the national Framework for K–12 Science Education. Our goals include preparing participants to deliver their own GEN professional development to assist K–12 teachers with the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, in the context of astronomy and space science.

PDI participants will explore:

  • Classroom-tested, standards-based, and Galileo-themed astronomy investigations
  • How students learn science
  • Astronomy teaching resources, including The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD-ROM
  • NASA-developed and NASA-supported resources and science content
  • How to adapt existing astronomy resources and activities to emphasize science practices and to include reflection on the nature of science

Presenters and facilitators include:

  • Dr. Greg Schultz (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA)
  • Dr. Wil Van der Veen (New Jersey Astronomy Center, North Branch, NJ)
  • Dr. Roberta Johnson (National Earth Science Teachers Association)
  • Brian Kruse (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA)
  • Theresa Moody (New Jersey Astronomy Center, North Branch, NJ)
  • Rob Sparks (National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ)

Participants in this GEN PDI will receive:

  • A $400 stipend, upon delivery of their own GEN professional development program for K-12 teachers in their home region. GEN PD should cover a minimum of 15 contact hours for in-service and/or pre-service teachers, but can be implemented in different ways, such as: (a) a 2-day weekend workshop, (b) a few afterschool PD sessions, or (c) a 15-week, 1 hour-per-week course.
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses for the GEN PDI in Chicago.
  • 20 copies of the astronomy teaching resource, The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD, for use with K-12 teachers that PDI participants will subsequently train.
  • NASA educational materials, for instance from the SOFIA mission Active Astronomy activity kit, and a mini-kit of selected NASA Night Sky Network activities and materials.
  • Details on what GEN PDI participants (who will become NASA Galileo Educator Fellows) will both receive and commit to, are found at “Becoming a NASA Galileo Educator Fellow”.

GEN Individual Commitment Form 2012
GEN Institutional Endorsement Form 2012
GEN Travel Reimbursement Worksheet 2012

Applications for the 2012 GEN PDI are now closed.  Please watch this page for announcements of upcoming GEN teacher workshops, and the 2013 PDI.  Thank you for your interest in the NASA Galileo Educator Network.

For more information, please email:
A background in astronomy and experience in delivering professional development are preferred, however are not required.

GEN Project Overview

The NASA Galileo Educator Network (GEN) is a NASA funded teacher professional development program managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.  Partner organizations include the New Jersey Astronomy Center (NJACE) at Raritan Valley College, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, Arizona, and the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA).  Project ASTRO National Network sites in Boulder, Colorado, San Diego, California, West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio are also involved in piloting the program.

GEN grew out of the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP), a heritage program of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.  The GEN program creates professional development nationwide with the primary goals to:

  1. Help teacher educators and teacher professional development providers engage and educate teachers of astronomy (and general science), especially in grades 3-9, using effective instructional strategies and educational resources, with engaging and inspiring content.
  2. Promote the effective use of NASA-developed and NASA-supported resources by teacher educators and teacher professional development providers, through integration of astronomy/space science content with Galileo-inspired science inquiry and exploration.

GEN professional development has four basic and common elements adapted from GTTP:

  • Galileo-related activities, examining astronomy content and/or science inquiry. This involves activities recreating or exploring Galileo’s observations of Jupiter’s moons, Venus’ phases, the Sun’s spots, or the Moon’s craters. In this context learners (teachers or students) experience a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to scientific investigation, illustrating the process of science. GEN addresses the nature and practices of science directly, influenced by the NRC report, Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8 (2007).
  • NASA-developed and NASA-supported resources and science content. In GTTP, this workshop element was about using IYA-related resources, such as Galileoscopes. But for GEN, this becomes NASA resources and content. This includes NASA education and mission specific resources, as well as NASA supported resources contained in The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD-ROM. This compilation includes approximately 50 classroom activities developed with NASA support, plus several contributed background articles from NASA personnel.
  • Fundamental concepts to meet curriculum goals. In GTTP workshops, this element enabled flexibility with workshop design, and yet allowed a focus on core concepts and ideas that students (and their teachers) need to tackle. This same principle carries over into GEN professional development efforts. Examples of fundamental concepts include: scale (size, distance, and time); phases of the Moon, motions of the Sun and Earth, seasons, the nature of science, etc.
  • Resources adaptable for use in the classroom. GTTP workshops benefitted from flexibility, integrating various educational resources from NASA and elsewhere, with the overriding objective to feature useful resources for the classroom. GEN focuses on NASA-supported resources while enabling exploration of additional resources. These additional resources include those developed by GEN partners and leverage local assets to serve the needs of their teacher communities. One featured NASA-supported resource is the Windows to the Universe website, now administered by NESTA. Other resources important in GEN professional development includes unique local resources each site may have access to, such as planetarium programs, exhibits, staff astronomers, etc.

In 2012 and 2013, GEN partners will hold Professional Development Institutes (GEN PDI) for teacher educators and professional developers in a “train the trainer” model, giving them the tools to conduct their own GEN workshop for classroom teachers in their own communities.  Participants in a GEN PDI are certified as Galileo Educator Fellows.  Teachers who participate in a 15-hour GEN teacher’s workshop become Galileo Educators.

Teachers throughout the country are invited to become NASA Galileo Educators by participating in local and regional GEN workshops conducted by NASA Galileo Educator Fellows.

Check the list below for a workshop in your area.  Check back later as more workshops are scheduled.

If you miss out on a local GEN workshop, you can participate in a national GTTP workshop. These workshops incorporate content and activities related to GEN, however are more general in nature.

2012 National GTTP workshop:
Galileo Goes to Mars
August 4-5, 2012
Tucson, Arizona

2013 National GTTP workshop: location and dates TBD

For more information on GEN and to receive more information on participating in a GEN workshop or PDI, send an email to: gttp {at}



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