Since 2008, Baltimore Project ASTRO has served students and educators in Baltimore and the surrounding region. We are a partnership between Towson University, the Maryland Science Center, and the Space Telescope Science Institute, and we are a site of the nationwide Project ASTRO program. Project ASTRO was launched originally by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1994. Baltimore Project ASTRO and Project ASTRO sites in 19 other regions around the U. S. link professional and amateur astronomers with K-9 teachers to bring inquiry-based astronomy activities to classrooms.
For more details about the National Project ASTRO program, see their web site at
As a Project ASTRO site institution, Towson University (TU) is responsible for recruiting educator and astronomer partners and for bringing them together for an annual workshop. At the workshop, partners are provided with materials from the ASP, and they learn how to forge effective collaborations, how to make use of local astronomy resources, and how to implement hands-on, inquiry-based astronomy activities in their classrooms. The material supplied by the ASP consists of a DVD including 133 field-tested hands-on activities, from programs and projects around the US, 17 topical guides to the best sources of information in print and on the web, 52 background articles on astronomy and education, 10 recommended sequences of activities to help students learn some of the topics most often found in the K-12 curriculum. For more information about this DVD and other available resources from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, see their website at
The specific goals of the program are to bring direct benefits to both teachers and students by:
Promoting active learning methods in science classrooms that engage both teachers and students and improve student attitudes towards science;
Offering role models for students by showing them working examples of who scientists are and what they do;
Providing professional development for teachers through workshops, in-service training, and one-to-one partnerships with local content “experts.”
Project ASTRO teachers can:
Reserve a classroom set of 6 Galileoscopes for facilitating a lesson on telescopes with their students.
Reserve a classroom set of 8 SunSpotter Telescopes to use in their classes.
Invite Dr. Don Thomas, retired NASA astronaut and director of Towson University’s Hackerman Academy, to visit their classrooms. Please contact the Towson University Project ASTRO coordinator to make arrangements.
Schedule a Portable Planetarium event for their classes. Please contact the Towson University Project ASTRO coordinator to make arrangements.
Purchase materials for Project ASTRO activities implemented in the classroom using a $100 stipend.
Request a science/physics magic show, given by one of TU's science outreach educators.
Project ASTRO targets teachers and students in the Baltimore City Public Schools System (BCPSS). Over the past 4 years, the schools that we have partnered with are:
Baltimore Community School HS,
Baltimore Rising Star Academy ES/MS,
City Neighbors Charter School ES/MS,
Franklin Square ES/MS,
Friendship Academy of Science and Technology M/HS,
Garrett Heights ES/MS, Garrison MS,
George Mason University,
Hampstead Hill Academy,
Harriet Tubman ES,
Medfield Heights ES,
Renaissance Academy HS,
Roland Park ES/MS,
United States Naval Observatory,
William C. March MS,
Windsor Hills ES/MS,
The astronomer volunteers represent the following astronomy organizations:
Harford Astronomical Society,
Maryland Science Center,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center,
Space Telescope Science Institute,
Westminster Astronomical Society.
We now support 17 educator-astronomer partnerships and the program has impacted approximately 1,800 underrepresented and underserved students in BCPSS since its inception.
If you are either a BCPS teacher or an astronomer (or a scientist/engineer with broad knowledge of astronomy) and you are interested in this partnership model, please contact The Towson University Project ASTRO Coordinator or one of the Towson University Project ASTRO Directors:
Towson University Project ASTRO Coordinator
Dr. Karen Schaefer
Department of Physics, Astronomy, & Geosciences
James Reynolds & Project ASTRO Partner Tameshia Farley