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 18th year from February 28 - March 4, 2022. Journey week will include live virtual educational opportunities, career panels and the premiere of a cultural exchange pilot program between classrooms in NOIRLab’s host cities of Hilo, Hawaiʻi, La Serena, Chile and Tucson, Arizona.
Journey Through the Universe (Journey) promotes science education at 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 international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The success of Journey Through the Universe over the past 18 years is evidence of the support from our local community partners across the industries of government, business, astronomy and higher education and our foundational partnership with the Hawaiʻi County Department of Education.
Over the past 17 years, Journey Through the Universe has provided classroom visits, career panels, teacher workshops and other educational opportunities throughout the year. Gemini’s StarLab Portable Planetarium has traveled to kindergarten and first grade students in local schools, offering students a fun way to engage with our Solar System and constellations, while helping teachers incorporate the planetarium into the classroom. Gemini has hosted FamilyASTRO training 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) has led 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 has also offered 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.”