One of the key goals of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is to make its discoveries and missions accessible to a wide range of educators, students, and the public. The working group has commissioned two annotated resource guides from veteran astronomy and space-science educator Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College) that address these two issues. One examines the contributions to astronomy by cultures outside of Europe and the U.S mainstream. The other looks at the contributions of women to astronomy, plus the barriers women have faced and the progress they have made in becoming equal partners in the enterprise of astronomical research.
The two guides include material that can be used by instructors to make lectures and class activities more inclusive, as well as readings and videos that students can use for projects and papers. The materials are mostly non-technical, so they can be used by a wide range of non-science students taking general education courses in the sciences, including those in public community and state colleges, where many future K-12 teachers begin their education.
Instructors and professors who teach such courses often don’t receive much training in taking a multi-cultural perspective and sometimes don’t have many role models who are not white males. These resource guides will allow them to highlight more of the contributions of women and underserved minorities in their classrooms.
This work was led by the Heliophysics Forum (formerly the Sun-Earth Connection Forum), co-led by Multiverse (formerly the Center for Science Education) at the Space Sciences Lab at the University of California at Berkeley.