AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 109 Professional Development for Teachers
Poster, Wednesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 11, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[109.01] White Dwarfs and the Age of our Galaxy: A Professional Development Workshop for Teachers

M. K. Hemenway, B. J. Armosky, M. Kilic (Univ TX-Austin), H. Shipman (Univ Delaware), T. von Hippel (Univ TX-Austin)

The first of a planned series of workshops for secondary school science teachers was conducted at McDonald Observatory in 2005. In preparation for the workshop, new instructional materials on white dwarfs and the age of our Galaxy were prepared and pilot-tested. Thirteen teachers from Arizona, Delaware, and Texas performed these standards-aligned activities at the workshop in preparation for using them within their own classrooms. During four nights of observing, the participants made CCD-images at the 0.8-m telescope and reduced the data with personal computers using easily available image reduction software. Working in teams, they created a color-magnitude diagram for an open cluster and found several white dwarf candidates within the cluster. With guidance, they used the work of the White Dwarf Luminosity Function Collaboration, which fostered this workshop, to estimate the age of the Galaxy. The workshop included tours of other observatory facilities, practical exercises with small telescopes, and time to reflect on their own teaching practices. Evaluation on the workshop and the use of the instructional materials is continuing.

Support from the National Science Foundation (AST 0307315), National Science FoundationsDistinguished Teaching Scholars Program (DUE-0306557), and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration under an Education and Public Outreach supplement to Grant/Contract/Agreement No. NAG5-13070 issued through the Office of Space Science is gratefully acknowledged.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.