Journey – Hilo, HI, March 2012

Journey through the Universe
Hilo, Hawaii
March 1 – 9, 2012

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Dr. Jeff Goldstein, NCESSE Center Director, is proud to be one of over 70 Visiting Researchers and Visiting Educators for the Journey through the Universe program on the Big Island of Hawai’i, March 1-9, 2012. The North Hilo/Laupahoehoe/Waiakea Complex, located on the island of Hawai’i and home of the Mauna Kea Observatories, joined the Journey through the Universe program in June 2004. This year 73 scientists, engineers, and educators will be conducting classroom visits, professional development for teachers, and family and public events, for community-wide engagement in STEM education.


Visit the Hawai’i Journey through the Universe website to read about the events, workshops, presenters, and organizational partners.

Read about NCESSE’s National Journey through the Universe Program

A remarkable poster of all the scientists, engineers, and educators that are making Journey through the Universe in Hawai’i possible: Download PDF


Dr. Goldstein’s Presentations—

Keynote Address: Science – It’s Not a Book of Knowledge … It’s a Journey
8:45 – 10:00 am, Saturday, March 3, Hilo High School

Every parent remembers that magical time when our children first began to speak, that moment marking the beginning of unending questions. In our children we can see our humanity — our innate curiosity — and recognize the obvious … that we are born to explore!

Science, in all its seeming complexity, is nothing but a means to organize curiosity. A way to empower one’s self to ask the gift of a question, and to hone the art that allows navigation through the noise of the universe around us in quest of an answer. It is an emotional, joyful, and wondrous journey that hopefully allows the traveler to pull back the veil of nature just a little, see how she operates, and celebrate the accomplishment.

Science education is no different. It is the means by which we immerse our children in the act of journey by letting them do science, and acknowledging it is their journey. As teachers, our sweet reward is seeing the joys of learning wash over them. And as teachers, we are charged with nothing less than patiently and gently launching the explorations of an entire generation.

Breakout Session:
Journey through the Universe 2.0
10:15 am -12:20 pm, Saturday, March 3

It is recognized that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is vital to ensure that America can compete in the high technology marketplace of the 21st century and that our children are prepared for the 21st century job market. In this context, it is noteworthy that for 8 years Journey through the Universe on the Big Island has made a broad and sustained commitment to STEM education through professional development for teachers, family and public programs committed to cross-generational learning, and classroom visits by researchers capable of providing a firsthand view of what it’s like to work on the frontiers of human exploration. For 8 years, Journey has flourished through its commitment to community-wide engagement, and partnerships between the local education, research, and business communities. In this time of strategic national need in STEM education, we should embrace “Journey 1.0” for what it has accomplished, recognize that it is a proven model for STEM education, and explore its expansion into an initiative that can be strategically coupled to Hawai’i State needs in STEM education.

This breakout session is dedicated to an exciting ‘blue sky’ discussion for the leadership of the local education, research, and business communities where we can network on STEM education needs and organizational capabilities, and explore how the existing program can be taken to the next level—“Journey 2.0”—with, e.g., authentic STEM immersion experiences for students, and expanded programming and collaborations that can leverage both Hawai’i’s strategic objectives in STEM education and the rich assets of the myriad national and international research organizations on the Big Island.

Special Session:
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP)
1:30-2:45 pm, Saturday, March 3

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), launched June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, is a remarkable U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that gives typically 300 to 1,000 students across a community the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle, and then on the International Space Station—America’s newest National Laboratory. More broadly, SSEP is about a commitment to student ownership in exploration, to science as journey, and to the joys of learning. For school districts—even individual schools—it provides an opportunity to implement a systemic, high caliber, and historic STEM education program tailored to community need. During this special session, we will explore the potential for integrating SSEP into Journey through the Universe on the Big Island. Go to the SSEP website for more information on the program.

Family Program:
How Big is Big?
1:30 – 2:15 pm, Sunday, March 4, Imiloa Astronomy Education Center

It’s a big, often intimidating universe out there. How do we even begin to fathom objects and distances that dwarf anything we’ve ever experienced? You might memorize all the facts and figures—our galaxy has over 100 billion stars, our Sun is 93,000,000 miles away. But where’s the learning? The numbers are big, impersonal—even irrelevant. Instead, you might imagine a simple view with Earth, our Sun, and some neighboring planets and stars adrift in an endless ocean of space. But both approaches do a disservice to the majesty of the cosmos.

Earth’s place in space IS understandable, and in a way that inspires awe and wonder! The secret is placing the universe in a context that is familiar. You’re not convinced? Come and take this magical journey from spaceship Earth to points unknown. I promise when we come back home you’ll feel the words of T.S. Eliot: “…and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Focus: a conceptual understanding of the universe through the power of models