From the September 2004 issue

Family ASTRO

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific designed the Family ASTRO program so parents can share in their kids' learning of astronomy.
By | Published: September 28, 2004 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
As Project ASTRO evolved, the families of participating students took notice. They would approach the teacher-astronomer partnerships to find ways to get involved. Seeing an opportunity to build upon and bring the content outside the classroom, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) secured a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2000 and created Family ASTRO.
Family ASTRO
Participants work on a Family ASTRO project.
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
At this time, 10 Project ASTRO regional sites also host Family ASTRO programs. In addition, the ASP teamed up with the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum to develop a Chicago Family ASTRO site, as well as with the Gemini and Keck Observatories to establish a satellite branch on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The overall goal is to persuade parents or guardians to take a greater interest in their children’s education — both inside and outside the classroom. To accomplish this, under the guidance of program volunteers, families take part in astronomy-themed activities at regional site events. Incorporating math, art, communication, and other disciplines, hands-on projects familiarize participants with backyard astronomy or transport them through the solar system. At the end of the night, they leave with activity packages, encouragement to explore further at home, and an invitation to return for future events.

“We want them to go home and talk about what they’ve learned and build upon it,” says Project ASTRO national coordinator Dan Zevin. “By asking questions of each other or doing home activities, the family hopefully will be hooked.”

For more information on getting involved with Project or Family ASTRO, e-mail Dan Zevin or visit the Family ASTRO web site.