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Georgia Department of Education Partners with NASA to Launch Workshops for Teachers

Georgia Department of Education Partners with NASA to Launch Workshops for Teachers    MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,    - Follow us on Twitter and Facebook   June 14, 2011- The NASA funded Georgians Experience Astronomy Research in Schools (GEARS) will bring teachers together this summer at Albany State, Valdosta State, Kennesaw State and the University of Georgia for an intensive workshops introducing high-tech astronomy tools for use with high school students. One of the primary goals of GEARS is to provide more Georgia high school students with access to a high-tech astronomy curriculum based on NASA data. The process of moving from a textbook based approach to a data based approach will focus on the excitement of discoveries yet to be made.     The Georgia Department of Education, Columbus State University and Georgia State University received a $1.4 million grant from NASA in the summer of 2009 to implement the GEARS project.       “The NASA GEARS initiative is an exciting, fast tracked, technologically advanced program for teachers to bring relevance to the classroom,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.  “The opportunity for a more scientific, data driven approach to astronomy will further enhance the student’s learning through real world examples.”   The workshops will introduce astronomy concepts, NASA data and data access and analysis tools. The participating high school teachers will learn how to retrieve data from NASA missions such as Hubble, Kepler, and Chandra and are being provided the tools to analyze the data. This data can be used to explore topics such as colliding galaxies, supernovae, and extrasolar planets.   The purpose of GEARS is to change the way astronomy is taught in Georgia high schools, according to Columbus State University physics professor Zodiac Webster, who also serves as an institutional Principal Investigator and a workshop co-facilitator.     Dr. Webster stated, “We’re trying to inspire teachers to use some astronomical discoveries to teach physics and chemistry concepts by giving teachers a fire hose approach to astronomy.  We’re trying to introduce them to as many technological tools as possible so that they can bring the real data into their classrooms.”   For more information and registration, contact Zodiac Webster at .   Workshop Dates & Times:  §        June 13-17, Albany, GA, 9 am – 4 pm  §        June 20-24, Kennesaw, GA, 9 am – 4 pm  §        June 20-24, Valdosta, GA, 9 am – 4 pm  §        June 27- July 1, Athens, GA, 9 am – 4 pm