Project ASTRO San Diego Teacher Information 2013-14

A Program to match 3rd-9th-grade educators in San Diego area schools and community groups with amateur and professional astronomers

Thank you for your interest in being a Project ASTRO teacher partner! These pages provide further information on the project. You can also check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

The application deadline for the 2014-15 school year is OCTOBER 1, 2014. The training workshop will be held on OCTOBER 18 (Saturday) at R. H. Fleet Science Center. (Late applications will be considered; however we may run out of astronomer volunteers). The application form can be found here.

Project ASTRO is a program of the non-proft Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), which began in the Bay Area in 1993. There are now about a dozen local sites around the US. Project ASTRO San Diego started its pilot year in 2001-2002 with 13 astronomer/teacher partnerships, and expanded to about 25 partnerships over 2002-2013.

Each year, 3rd-10th grade teachers and youth group educators from the San Diego area are paired with volunteer astronomers who have an interest in working with local schools and community organizations.

The educators should have an interest in teaching astronomy and hands-on science, but do not need to have any astronomy experience to participate. Astronomer volunteers include retired professors, full-time researchers, and graduate students from local colleges in addition to experienced amateur astronomers - all of whom enjoy the opportunity to share their enthusiasm and knowledge.

Together, educators and astronomers participate in a 1-day summer workshop, receive astronomy resource materials, and develop their own strategy for working together in and out of the classroom.

These partnerships involve more than just one-time visits. Astronomers and educators commit to at least four site visits per year. For each visit, partners plan their hands-on activities in advance, with the teacher providing direction regarding curriculum requirements, students' abilities and time constraints. (The activities are mostly selected from the ASP's 800-page activity guide Universe at Your Fingertips, which is provided to all participants at the training workshop). On the day of the visit, the astronomer and teacher guide the students through the activities together. The astronomer also takes the time to answer students' questions, and talks about his/her own work, interests and background. Some partners also set up evening observing sessions, create astronomy clubs, organize field trips, or help create science fair projects.

Project ASTRO's goals are:

Project ASTRO teachers:

Project ASTRO teachers commit to:

Teacher Selection for the Program

Project ASTRO was designed to impact students in a meaningful way, where students get to know "their" astronomer over the course of a school year. For this reason, and out of respect for their own schedules, astronomer volunteers are usually assigned to just one school, and no more than 2 teachers or classrooms in any school year. Therefore, at all Project ASTRO sites around the country we find that demand for astronomers exceeds the supply of volunteers, and so sadly we may not be able to accommodate all those teachers interested. (We shall keep a waiting list for the following year). In matching teachers with astronomer partners, the final selection is based on: Teams of two teachers from the same school or district are welcome to apply. (All teachers must submit an application form).


Project ASTRO is a national program overseen by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). However, local sites are responsible for raising their own funds to continue the program, organizing the training workshops, and recruiting and managing the partnerships. Project ASTRO San Diego is supported by a local coalition which includes the San Diego County Office of Education, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego State University, and local community colleges. We are also very fortunate to have the support (through volunteers and star parties) of the San Diego Astronomy Association, which is the 2nd largest amateur astronomy club in the US.

Coordination of the site is a part-time effort shared by Prof. Ron Angione and Dr. Philip Blanco at SDSU, both of whom are available to provide information and assistance during the school year.

Contact information:

Dr. Philip Blanco - Coordinator, San Diego Project ASTRO
Email: pblanco@mail.sdsu.edu

Additional information related to project management and funding can be obtained from:

Dr. Ron Angione - Director, San Diego Project ASTRO Coalition
Department of Astronomy, PA-210
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-1221.
Phone (619) 594-6182. Fax: (619) 594-1413.
Email: angione@mail.sdsu.edu

Project ASTRO San Diego