Presentation #547.02 in the session “Education, Outreach, and Public Engagement”.
The NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program (NITARP) partners small groups of secondary school educators, high school students, and research astronomers in a year-long research project. The majority of the research is completed remotely and authentically, meaning there is no expected outcome or single correct answer. Students and teachers alike engage in modern research practices to better understand a guiding research question. In addition to hands-on research, the NITARP program meets and exceeds several national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core Reading, Writing, and Math standards, as well as standards outlined by the local regions of the participating NITARP teachers. Students that have participated in the summer research experience, coupled with the ongoing teleconferences, experienced a shift in their understanding of Science and scientists, as well as the process of doing science, especially as compared to a traditional classroom. Teachers that have participated have shown a renewed interest in both Science and improving pedagogy. Finally, experiential learning is longer lasting and more effective than more traditional classroom settings, and is overall better for retaining information. In a historical moment when remote learning is under intense scrutiny, NITARP demonstrates that rich experiential education can take place in a primarily online context. The NITARP experience is a largely online collaboration that has had great success over the last fifteen years, and is an overall net positive for teachers and students.