Sturgis West Astronomy Club

BY John Tecklenburg 

Sturgis Charter School (West) 

Project Description

The Astronomy Club was created with the intention of showing high school students the beauty of the stars. There is a budding interest in astronomy at Sturgis West with a number of students who are involved in local astronomical societies and who travel to star parties throughout New England. A couple of these students had an intense desire to share their love for astronomy with their peers and so they created a club to help foster student interest and involvement. The current project goal is to obtain two Meade Infinity telescopes. These are small, economically priced telescopes that have significant observing capabilities. The two telescopes would allow us to expand our club and to improve our physics curriculum by opening it up to the fascinating field of Astronomy. The Astronomy Club is looking to have star parties several times per school year with a goal of one party per month. The club will put particular emphasis on unusual astronomical events such as comet or planet viewing, eclipses, and meteor showers. The club also plans to bring experts in the field of astronomy to speak to the club and physics classes at Sturgis West. The club aims to share their own interest in astronomy and expose others to the beauty of the night sky.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

The project will be evaluated by the number of participants taking part in star parties, attending Astronomy Club planned lectures, and pursuing other educational opportunities through the club.  The projected will also be evaluated by the number of students in our physics classes who are able to participate in night observations.

Benefit to the students and the school

The Astronomy Club is an excellent opportunity to expand the scope of our science department and create a healthy atmosphere and group dedicated to the study of science and the cosmos.  While the club has significant interest and membership, they lack equipment to keep members engaged at star parties.  The two telescopes would be a tremendous resource to be utilized by club members as well as our physics students.  This would be a tremendous addition to our physics curriculum that is always looking to add hands-on inquiry based activities.  Bringing astronomy into our physics curriculum would be a tremendous way to show students the applications of physics and expose them to an incredibly fascinating field.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

The Astronomy Club is up and running and planning star parties for the fall and winter. Whenever these telescopes are received, they would be put to immediate use and greatly enhance our ability to keep students engaged at star parties and observations available to all physics students.