The Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEAT) on Space Science is a week-long professional development opportunity for teachers to explore space science and astronomy through a variety of hands-on workshops, discussions with experts, and field trips to cutting-edge space science research center and labs. In summer 2019, the SSEC held the Space Science SSEAT by collaborating with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) for teachers in the greater Boston area. This academy focuses on the concepts of seasonal change, phases of the moon and eclipses, and learning to integrate authentic tools to observe the Universe.
Goals of the Space Science SSEAT
- Increase content knowledge around space science, including the concepts of seasonal change, phases of the moon and eclipses.
- Increase confidence to use computer software to integrate into science class.
- Form rich connections through dialogue and shared experiences with a cadre of scientists and educators.
- Experience and learn pedagogical techniques that facilitate a hands-on, inquiry-based, integrated approach to teaching.
What to Expect
Every year’s SSEAT is a unique experience. The Space SSEAT 2019 program featured:
Learn to integrate the digital source of the WorldWide Telescope with hands-on activity into the concepts of seasonal change, lunar phases, and eclipses.
“Excellent! An easy approach to a topic that requires children to think outside of the box and use actual data to understand how and why we have seasons” - 2019 Participant
Learn to operate remote robotic telescopes to capture the images of the Universe and to learn about image processing as astronomers do for their research.
“This program is awesome! I love it and I can't wait until I can use it with my students” - 2019 Participant
SSEC's curriculum, “Space Systems Exploration” Sun-Earth-Moon model
Learn to use the Sun-Earth-Moon model from the SSEC's curriculum, Space Systems Exploration. The SEM model activities cover the concepts of seasonal changes, lunar phases and eclipses.
“It was interesting to think about how to implement modeling with students. I liked how we could use the same model for lots of phenomena.” - 2019 Participant
Field Trips to Cutting-Edge Science Center & Labs, and Historic Old Observatory
Visits to the Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Control Center, science labs of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Harvard Old Observatory
“Awe inspiring + inspirational- I felt like I was stepping into history or a movie. Learned so much + was personally inspired!” - 2019 Participant
“This was a fascinating tour/lecture about something I knew nothing about. I would like to incorporate this with my waves unit.” - 2019 Participant
For more information, check out 2019’s agenda.
“One of the top 3 PDs I've ever done. I went from being (quiet) apprehensive of teaching space concepts to wildly excited and enthused. Appreciate the many excellent resources + classroom ideas!” -2019 Participant
“Met + exceeded goals of pedagogy + interaction with resources and trips. This was helpful for thinking + planning of current and future lessons. Great resources and connections! Thank you!” -2019 Participant
“It went beyond my expectations, because it was up to date, connected to education, research and industry.” -2019 Participant
“The SSEAT has far exceeded my expectations. I came away with way more ideas and resources than I expected and I had the chance to expand my professional network while refining my content knowledge + pedogeological practices.” -2019 Participant
Register for Space Science
This was a free and one-time event for local teachers in the Boston area, which was possible by the Smithsonian Youth Access Grant 2019.