"Thank you so much for visiting our class on Friday! The kids loved it...they thought it was pretty cool to meet a "real" Astronomer! Thanks again, Janine"
Updated November 19, 2011
Sky Scan extends reach for 2003/04 school year
As the new Science 9 curriculum becomes mandatory in the upcoming 2003/04 school year, Sky Scan Science Awareness Project looks to expand its horizons and bring no-cost, hands-on radio astronomy to many more Alberta schools. With a natural emphasis on Science, Technology and Society, Sky Scan addresses many of the key concepts of Unit E: Space Exploration with numerous cross-curricular links, as summarized here.
A pilot project was conducted in 2002/03 at three Edmonton-area schools who had introduced the new curriculum on an optional basis: Spruce Ave., Bannerman and Balwin. Remote sensing radio telescopes installed at each school successfully monitored the Leonid and Geminid meteor showers. Results obtained by the Sky Scan Array were posted on the Internet and subsequently cited by a leading international meteor scientist. Lesson plans covering roughly 50% of the curricular requirements of the space exploration unit were developed and posted here on the project website. In the words of Renee Parker, Science 9 teacher at Balwin, “My students scored their highest exam marks ever in the space unit!! I think your visit had a huge impact on my students. They thought the space unit was cool…”
New schools continue to sign on to the Sky Scan project for the upcoming school year, and many more have expressed interest. In the Edmonton area, Avonmore, Parkview, St. Mark’s, Hillcrest, and Vernon Barford Junior Highs have signed up, while Central High Sedgewick Public School some 200 km east of the capital will be the first "remote" school to participate. With much of the project support to be provided via the Internet, more distant schools are encouraged to join. Unfortunately, we cannot provide support outside Alberta, although we have received expressions of interest from Virginia to Australia to Siberia.
To make the Sky Scan program accessible to as many Science 9 students as possible, we offer several levels of involvement for interested schools:
1. An antenna is a worthwhile project for a Grade 9 construction class, for those schools equipped with IA labs. (Your construction teacher can check out the plans here,) Sky Scan personnel will provide a radio and technical support with the installation. This would enable student involvement through every step of the scientific process: build a detector, collect data, analyze the data, publish their results.
2. Antennas built by Sky Scan volunteers can be installed in schools unable to construct their own. Students would become involved at the data collection level.
3. Schools unable to install their own radio telescope can access the lesson plans and data collected at other schools.
4. As available, a guest speaker will visit schools to give a concise summary of the project in a single class. This presentation covers principles of Earth’s environment in space, radio astronomy, the electromagnetic spectrum, meteor science, remote sensing technology, and the scientific method.