$800,000 Grant for Yerkes... Sept 24, 2006 21:28:37 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Sept 24, 2006 21:28:37 GMT -6
Yerkes to receive $800,000 grant
WILLIAMS BAY-The Yerkes Observatory has been awarded an $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a two-year science education program for southeastern Wisconsin students in grades three through eight.
Jim Gee, Yerkes manager, said the foundation notified the observatory of its grant award Wednesday.
Vivian Hoette, a member of the Yerkes staff, said the two-year grant is Yerkes' first real step in establishing itself as a center for science education. The program will be called Yerkes Astrophysics Academy for Young Scientists, or YAYS.
Hoette said the observatory will begin receiving grant money Oct. 15, although the program won't begin until January 2007. It's expected to run until December 2008.
She said staff is now working on selection standards for teachers and students.
According to information from the National Science Foundation Web site, YAYS will bring together the talents of scientists, educators and engineers to provide students, including those with visual and hearing disabilities, with the opportunity to make scientific observations, build scientific equipment, and collect and interpret data.
"This is really meant to get kids excited about technology, engineering, science and math," Hoette said.
Yerkes Observatory is owned by the University of Chicago. First opened in 1897, the observatory has been slipping behind in new astronomy technology. But the resources at the observatory, its still-functional telescopes and its setting on Geneva Lake have helped spawn a new career as an educational center for astronomy and the sciences.
Local donations toward Yerkes' educational outreach factored in the foundation's decision to award the grant to Yerkes, Hoette said.
For two years, YAYS will provide between 100 and 200 students from area elementary and middle schools with year-round activities surrounding four themes:
-- Observing the Sky.
-- Investigating Light and the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum.
-- Using Telescopes, Imaging, and Data Collection Display and Analysis.
-- Building Instruments.
Twenty local teachers will participate in the program and receive training in physics and astronomy while working with scientists and educators at Yerkes. Aurora University's College of Education will also provide teacher training.
The selected students will get 150 hours of out-of-school time to engage in after-school observing sessions, field trips, and a week-long summer camp.
The summer camp will enable students to build a tabletop projection solar spectrograph. Spectrographs are used by astronomers to determine the chemical composition of stars.
A goal of the program is to assess the impact YAYS will have on teacher knowledge and student learning in science, technology, engineering and math.
Excellent in the developement of new initiatives for young students.
Yerkes ain't dead yet...