2010 Annual Science Report

VPL at University of Washington Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

EPO Activity: High School Astrobiology and Scientist Outreach

Project Progress

This EPO report briefly describes a partnership between the VPL Local Group at the University of Washington and the Lakewood High School in Washington State to conduct a pioneering high school level course in astrobiology. The course has been developed by teacher Daniella Leach of Lakewood High School, where it is currently being taught. VPL funded the teacher involvement and textbook purchases. Additionally VPL team members plan to host the 30 class member at the University of Washington in early December to share their experience with different kinds of astrobiology research to the students. One of these students also plans to complete a research project with VPL scientists at UW. If the course is successful, it will be offered to other schools in Washington State.

Additionally, VPL scientists taught undergraduate courses in astrobiology or with strong astrobiology components to non-science majors at UW, San Jose State University and Stanford. VPL scientists also gave numerous public talks, produced many press releases on their work, attended astronomy education workshops, contributed to the development of our interactive web tool and the astrobiology tool kit, and were engaged in developing interactive museum exhibits.

Kress and Meadows started an NAI astrobiology education interest group, with both NAI and non-NAI members signing onto the mailing list. We have had 2 telecons and I have started a website and a wiki to support instructors who are (or are interested in) teaching astrobiology for general education and for science majors.