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We describe the development and implementation of a professional development course for teachers of grades 4-12 designed to increase their content knowledge in astronomy, space science, and the nature of science using interactive presentations, and hands-on and inquiry-based lessons. The course, Space Science for Teachers, encompasses the astronomy and nature of science components of the Virginia Standards of Learning for grades 4-12 [1]. In addition to increasing their content knowledge, teachers gain experience using innovative teaching technologies, such as an inflatable planetarium, planetarium computer software, and computer controlled telescopes. The courses included evening laboratory sessions where teachers learned the constellations, how to find specific celestial objects, and how to use a variety of small telescopes. Participants received three graduate credit hours in science after completing the course requirements. Space Science for Teachers was taught at the University of Virginia in Summer 2005 and 2006, at George Mason University in Summer 2006 and 2007, at the University of Virginia Southwest Center in Abingdon, Virginia in Fall 2006, and at the MathScience Innovation Center in Richmond during Summer 2005 and 2007. A total of 135 teachers participated in the courses.





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