Image of the planet Saturn as seen from the Cassini spacecraft.


Blue Ridge
Earth Science Collaborative


University of Virginia
James Madison University


Register for Astronomy Summer 2014

Astronomy Resources for Teachers

Summer 2014 Astronomy Course

June 23-July 3, 2014, Charlottesville

NEW: A few spaces have opened up for the Astronomy Course on June 23-July 3, 2014. Please email Ed Murphy at if you are interested in this course.

The Blue ridge Earth Science Collaborative will be offering an astronomy course for high school and middle school teachers from June 23-July 3, 2014 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Follow this link to register for the course.

Workshop Description
  • ASTR 6340 Astronomy Concepts in the Classroom is an astronomy course for high school and middle school teachers
    • No previous astronomy experience required
  • The course will run from June 23-July 3, 2013 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (no class on June 28 and June 29)
  • In the course, you will develop new knowledge and skills that will help you more effectively address the Virginia Standards of Learning related to astronomy and the nature of science
  • The course includes
    • Inquiry-based classes on astronomy
    • Instruction on innovative methods for teaching astronomy
    • Time for developing your lesson plans
    • Hands-on laboratory work using a series of robotic telescopes located in Chile and Australia
  • Edward Murphy, University of Virginia
    • email:
    • Phone: (434) 924-4890
    • Edward Murphy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Virginia. He teaches introductory astronomy to non-science majors, evening classes for the public at McCormick Observatory, summer workshops for teachers, and seminars for graduate students and first year undergraduates. His research interest is studying the interstellar medium (the gas between the stars) using an orbiting satellite, the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, and radio telescopes in West Virginia. As the coordinator for the education and public outreach program in the Department of Astronomy, he runs the public night program and can be found at McCormick Observatory at almost every public night. He has produced the course "Our Night Sky" with the Teaching Company, which introduces people to the stars and other objects in the night sky, including the constellations and their myths.
  • You will receive 3 graduate credit hours for ASTR 6340 Astronomy Concepts in the Classroom
  • You will receive a textbook and other materials for teaching astronomy
  • Field trip to visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank
  • Free housing at a local hotel for teachers that cannot commute each day (double occupancy)
    • If you prefer a single room, the grant will cover 1/2 of the cost (cost to you is about $45 per night for a single).
  • Modest stipend for food
  • Attend all daily sessions, including the field trip
  • Complete all assignments and activities
  • Thanks to funding from an Improving Teacher Quality State Grant, teachers are required to pay a reduced tuition of only $150 for the course. This is approximately 1/5 of the cost of full tuition.
  • Please check with your school division on reimbursement policies for professional development courses. Your school division may cover some, or all, of the cost.


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Funds for this project were provided by a grant from the federal Improving Teacher Quality State Grants (Title II, Part A) Professional Development Program administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Additional support comes from the University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences, the Curry School of Education, the Center for the Liberal Arts, and the Friends of the Leander McCormick Observatory.

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