One of the projects that we're very excited around here is something called "Stop for Science!" (aka, STOP). This is a program aimed at engaging kids outside of classroom time in thinking about science. STOP is meant to be fun, but also informative. The centerpiece of the program is a series of five posters covering different areas. The topics range from "how tall is tall" to "when stars go boom." Each poster has accompanying material including background information, questions for different ages of kids, and teacher resource guides.
STOP was the brainchild of Chandra astrophysicist Pat Slane, who also used to teach high school science. Together with his brother, Robert, who is a principal at a school in Wisconsin, they developed the STOP program along with help from the Chandra Education and Public Outreach group. Last week, Pat traveled to Seattle, WA, for the National Science Teacher Association meeting. The goal is to spread the word about STOP and get teachers and others in education interested in hosting the program at their school. (Since STOP is designed to work in out-of-class settings like hallways or cafeterias, any staff member or volunteer in the school could implement it.)
The workshop in Seattle was a great success. Pat highlighted the program and gave a couple of examples of simple demonstrations that could be used to supplement the learning of the concepts within the STOP materials. The STOP materials are available free of charge, so if you or someone in a school district you know about may be interested, please visit the STOP website and for more information.
-Megan Watzke, CXC