AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 65 Astronomy in the K-12 Classrooms
Poster, Tuesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 10, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[65.03] Classroom Experience with the Small Radio Telescope

W. Johnson (Nashua High South), P. Pratap (MIT Haystack Observatory)

The Small Radio Telescope (SRT) was designed by MIT Haystack Observatory for use in science classrooms at the secondary and undergraduate level. The system consists of a 7-ft antenna with a receiver capable of observing the 1420 MHz radio astronomy band. A portable version of the telescope is available for teachers in the eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire area.

The SRT has been used at Haystack Observatory by teachers participating in an NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program. High school lesson plans for the SRT were developed as part of this program and are available on the Haystack Observatory web site at http://web.haystack.mit.edu/pcr/precollegeindex.htm. Last spring, some of these lesson plans were tested at Nashua High School South in Nashua, NH.

The presentation will discuss the experience of teaching observational radio astronomy in a high school physics classroom. Specific information will be given on the SRT and available lesson plans. Effects on student achievement and attitude will also be discussed. These experiences were made possible through an NSF/RET grant.

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