Journey Through the Universe
Links to previous years' Journey events:
Hawai‘i Island’s leading astronomy education and outreach program, Journey Through the Universe (Journey) is returning for its 17th year with a week of virtual educational programming from 1–5 March 2021.
Journey Through the Universe (Journey) promotes science education across east and north Hawai‘i Island school districts and inspires students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields by developing literacy in science. Journey endeavors to foster curiosity and wonder about our Universe, and the cutting-edge research and technology that is allowing us to understand our place in the cosmos like never before.
Originally developed by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), Journey has expanded each year since its introduction in Hawai‘i by the staff of the Gemini Observatory. Last year alone, the Journey program reached over 8,800 students in 300 classrooms, and more than 80 astronomy educators shared their passion for science with students.
The Journey team hosts a number of immersive educational programs throughout the week. In 2021 it will be unique in that all classroom presentations will be virtual. Our Journey astronomy and science educators will also provide career panels throughout the week. The Department of Education also will conduct a workshop for our astronomy educators focusing on the Next Generation Science Standards.
Journey through the Universe provides classroom visits and teacher trainings throughout the year. Gemini’s StarLab Portable Planetarium travels to kindergarten and first grade students in local schools, offering students a fun way to engage with our Solar System and constellations, and helping teachers incorporate the planetarium into the classroom. In addition, Gemini hosts FamilyASTRO trainings to teach practical applications of classroom astronomy to families, youth groups, after-school programs, and other organizations. Every other year, NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) leads a Lunar and Meteorite Sample Certification Workshop, in which teachers become certified to borrow samples from the Apollo missions, and to use NASA online tools to build appreciation for science among their students. Journey also offers teacher tours of the observatories on Maunakea.
Career panels featuring local observatory professionals are an important aspect of the Journey program. The panels allow students to discover the wide range of educational possibilities and career opportunities available at observatories and within the field. According to John Vierra, Gemini’s Safety Coordinator and career panel participant, the panels are planned to inspire: “This is an opportunity to make contact with kids at an earlier age, exposing them to the opportunities that exist in their local community, and encouraging them to aim high. It inspires them to think outside the box about what they want to accomplish later in life.”
“Journey Through the Universe would not succeed without the help of our community partners and sponsors, including the Department of Education, Hawai‘i Island business community, Maunakea Observatories, and NASA, among many others,” said Janice Harvey, Journey Through the Universe program coordinator. “Their continued support is a demonstration of their commitment to our community and the future of science education for Hawai‘i students.”