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2009 Annual Science Report

Arizona State University Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: EPO: Teacher Professional Development Opportunities

Project Progress

The Follow the Elements E/PO program has partnered with the Mars Education Program at Arizona State University to present astrobiology content at two local K-12 educator workshops: 1) Spring 2009 Mars Educator Conference, Investigation Mars: Unlocking Mysteries of the Red Planet (February 28, 2009) and 2) Searching for Life on Mars and Beyond: What do we look for? (April 25, 2009).

The Spring 2009 K-12 Mars Educator Conference, Investigation Mars: Unlocking Mysteries of the Red Planet, at Arizona State University took place at the Memorial Union on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on February 28, 2009. This conference attracted 75 educators from the Phoenix and surrounding areas to participate in full day professional development program that featured ASU-NASA scientists, Dr. Ariel Anbar (Follow the Elements PI; Figure 1) and Dr. Phil Christensen (Mars exploration program). Educators enjoyed a morning series of key note talks, a working lunch that featured Dr. William Hartman speaking on the connections between art and science, and afternoon breakout activity sessions (see Figure 2). Dr. Anbar presented an overview of the NAI Follow the Elements project along with an overview of the field of astrobiology.

Working with the ASU Mars Education program and the Office of Youth Preparation at ASU, a second workshop was held on April 25, 2009. This smaller workshop for 13 K-12 educators was held at the Mars Education Program classroom in the Mars Space Flight Facility at ASU. Astrobiologist, Dr. Jack Farmer (Figure 3) and astrophysicist, Dr. Patrick Young presented astrobiology talks in the morning. In the afternoon, educators enjoyed a series of hands-on classroom activities (Figure 4).