April 24, 2013

Carson High teachers participate in conference.

Teachers Explore Space at WNC Observatory

Observatory Hosts RECON Teacher Conference
Observatory Hosts RECON Teacher Conference

High school teachers from around the area went ‘out of this world,’ earlier this month, at least for a few days, and at the same time learned new information and techniques about teaching science.

For the first time, Western Nevada College’s Jack C. Davis Observatory hosted 39 teachers and volunteers from Nevada and California for a three-day Research and Education Cooperative Occultation Network (RECON) conference intended to train secondary educators how to look into toward space for teaching and research data. With the help of several scientists, the teachers, including three from Carson High School, were able to view Trans-Neptunian icy objects in the Keiper belt, a region of the solar system beyond the planet Neptune.

Each team of instructors was provided a new, 11-inch go-to Global Positioning System (GPS) telescope, equipped with a video camera system and a global timing device. Data they collected under the stars will be used in the classroom and possibly published in a scientific journal.

“This conference represents STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education at its very best,” said Davis Observatory Director Robert Collier. “After receiving the training, the teachers are charged with getting their students involved in science by using the telescope to research and learn about these celestial bodies.”

The conference, April 4-7, was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation, an organization that seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class science and engineering workforce, and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens through investments in research, advanced instrumentation and education. NSF funds research conducted by colleges and universities, and is a major source of federal funding in mathematics, computer science, and the social sciences.

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Teachers Learn at WNCs Davis Observatory    
Teachers Learn at WNC's Davis Observatory    
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