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Project ASTRO: History & Evolution

Project ASTRO logoSince 1994, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's (ASP) highly successful national Project ASTRO™ program has been providing opportunities for professional and amateur astronomers to contribute to science education in their local communities. With startup funding mainly from the Informal Science Education Division of the National Science Foundation, Project ASTRO began as an experiment in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, the program has expanded to include a number of regional sites across the country, thus forming a "National Network" that exchanges information regularly. The Project ASTRO National Staff & Office are located at the ASP in San Francisco.

The stability and strength of Project ASTRO is attributable to some of the following key features:

Keys to Success

Please note that Project ASTRO is not a curriculum in astronomy. There are no prescribed activities or topics to cover (though a number of resources are provided — see below). Each partnership draws upon its own strengths and interests to plan what happens during each astronomer visit. The strategy works, and independent evaluation has confirmed that both educators and students involved in the project have more positive attitudes about science and accomplish more science learning in the classroom.

Resources

Through Project ASTRO, the Society created two rich and popular resource guides for both educators and astronomers called "The Universe At Your Fingertips" and "More Universe At Your Fingertips." Both publications are now disseminated internationally through the ASP catalog, and we recently took the "greatest hits" from each and had them translated into Spanish. The result is "El Universo a sus pies," a collection of 55 exemplary hands-on astronomy activities for Spanish and bilingual educators, which started world-wide distribution this winter.

Associated Programs

Family ASTRO logoFamily ASTRO

With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Society started Family ASTRO in 2000 as a new phase of Project ASTRO. The original "classic" Project ASTRO educator-astronomer partners found tremendous interest in what they were doing among the families of their students, and thus Family ASTRO was born to continue at home what was begun in the classroom. For more information, click here to go to the Family ASTRO page.

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