Project CLEA goes "on the Road" to Share its
Software and Experience with EducatorsProject CLEA(Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy) representatives continue to "spread the word" about the educational software we have developed. The latest grant from the NSF has targeted outreach as a primary goal and, with additional support from Gettysburg College, we have been able to acquaint educators from all over the country with our laboratory simulations of astronomical research. It has been very beneficial to meet people around the country who were new to Project CLEA, who had questions about the programs, or who wished to share experiences with other educators. We have also been happy to receive many suggestions for possible future labs that educators and professionals would like to see developed using the CLEA format.We our local travel began with presentations to several AAPT sectional meetings. The American Association of Physics Teachers(AAPT) focuses on college and high school Physics/Astronomy Teaching.In the fall of 1999, Dick Cooper conducted a workshop at the Behrend campus of Penn State (western PA section AAPT). Then presented a talk about project CLEA at Randolph Macon College (VA Chesapeake section AAPT)The spring of 2000 saw the CLEA group visit Corning C.C.(NY section AAPT), Mary Washington College(VA Chesapeake section AAPT), Moravian College(central PA section), and the University of Cincinnati(southern OH section).The summer of 2000 saw the biggest activity for Project CLEA for the year. The entire staff hosted a summer workshop at Gettysburg College. Twenty Astronomer from across the country (including one from Australia and one from Puerto Rico) converged on our beautiful campus for a program on “Development of Research Techniques at Small College and Integration of CLEA Software into the College Curriculum”. The program included presentation, visiting lecturers, workshops, observing (weather permitting), and a stay at Green Bank Radio Observatory with observing time on the 40 foot radio telescope! The program was a great success for CLEA, Gettysburg College and the participants.
The summer also found Dr. Marschall presenting at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in Pasadena, CA. Glenn Snyder attended the National Conference on Minor Planets and Astrometry at Alfred University in NY.
The fall of 2000 found the CLEA group doing workshops at University of South Carolina at Spartanburg(joint NC and SC section AAPT), Long Island(NY), and Milton Academy(New England section AAPT). The workshops have been very beneficial and the college deserves thanks for contributing to physics and astronomy education.
The CLEA group(Laurence Marschall, Glenn Snyder, and Richard Cooper) traveled to San Diego for the joint national meeting of the American Astronomical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers. Dick Cooper and Dr. Marschall conducted a workshop, while Glenn Snyder presented a poster paper introducing the NEW CLEA lab “The Quest for Object X”, and we all shared information about Project CLEA at a booth in the exhibit hall.
This Spring term(2001) find the CLEA group active again. Dick Cooper presented TWO workshops at the Texas section of the AAPT in Huntsville, TX in March. One was focused on high school applications of project CLEA and the second was focused on the introductory astronomy laboratory for non-science majors for two/four year college instructors. Both workshops were filled and the response was very exciting.
Other visits this spring include Principia College in Illinois(Illinois section AAPT) in April and St. Thomas University in Minnesota(Minnesota section AAPT) also this April.
With additional support from the NSF imminent, we hope to continue the next few years with even more developments at the cutting edge of astronomy education. Pleas stay tuned as these plans continue to evolve over the next few years.