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Astronomy Education: A Selective Bibliography

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Version 2.2; June 1998
by Andrew Fraknoi
(Foothill College & the Astronomical Society of the Pacific)

©1998, Andrew Fraknoi, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton Ave., San Francisco, CA 94112. E-mail: fraknoiandrew {at}

This is a brief listing of some books and articles about astronomy and space science education at various levels from graduate school to grade school and at various types of institutions. It is by no means comprehensive, but merely designed to help those approaching the field become acquainted with the rich literature that already exists. (Suggestions are most welcome.)

Table of Contents:

1.   General Reports on Astronomy Education
2.   Review Articles
3.   Government & Organizational Reports
4.   Graduate-level Astronomy Education
5.   Teaching College Non-science Majors
6.   K-12 Astronomy Education
7.   Articles on K-12 Education Reform
8.   Astronomy Education at Planetaria & Museums
9.   Astronomy Education through the Media
10. Astronomy Education with Computers
11. Teaching Resources for Astronomy

1. General Reports on Astronomy Education

Berendzen, R., ed. Education in and History of Modern Astronomy. 1972, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 198.
One of the first attempts to systematize and collect information on astronomy education.

Fraknoi, A., et al., eds. The Universe at Your Fingertips: An Astronomy Activity and Resource Notebook. 1995, Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
An 813-page compilation of hands-on activities, resource lists, and teaching ideas; designed for grades 4-12, but usable at many levels and settings. A product of the Society's Project ASTRO.

Hunt, J., ed. COSMOS: An Educational Challenge: Proceedings of a 1986 GIREP Conference. 1986, European Space Agency Publications SP-253.
Brings together a wide range of mostly European contributions on astronomy education at all levels.

Pasachoff, J. & Percy, J., eds. The Teaching of Astronomy. 1990, Cambridge U. Press.
Proceedings of an international colloquium on astronomy education in the US and elsewhere.

Pennypacker, C., ed. Hands-on Astronomy for Education. 1992, World Publishing.
Proceedings of a 1990 conference emphasizing computers and small telescopes, especially in high school settings.

Percy, J., ed. Astronomy Education: Current Developments, Future Coordination. 1996, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 89.
The most up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to current issues and projects in astronomy education; with good reviews and resources.

Sletteback, A. & Jettner, F. "Proceedings of the Conference on Education in Astronomy, August 1969" in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, vol. 2, p. 254 (1970).
Interesting papers showing the concerns and projects of the 1960's, some of which are still very much with us today.

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2. Review Articles

Bishop, J. "Astronomy Education in the U.S.: Out from Under a Black Cloud" in The Griffith Observer, Mar. 1980, p. 2.
Good historical overview of the rise and fall of astronomy in the school curriculum and some educational projects in the 1970's. (See also her "U.S. Astronomy Education: Past, Present and Future" in Science Education, vol. 61, no. 3, p. 295; 1977.)

Fraknoi, A. "The State of Astronomy Education in the U.S." in Percy, J., ed. Astronomy Education: Current Developments, Future Coordination. 1996, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 89.
Sixteen-page overview of astronomy education in many settings. (Accompanied, later in the same book, by a "Catalog of National Astronomy Education Projects".)

Sadler, P. "Astronomy's Conceptual Hierarchy" in Percy, J., ed. Astronomy Education: Current Developments, Future Coordination. 1996, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 89.
How students learn (and don't learn) astronomical ideas.

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3. Relevant Government and Organizational Reports and Documents

American Association for the Advancement of Science: Project 2061: Science for All Americans. 1990, Oxford U. Press. Project 2061: Benchmarks for Science Literacy. 1994, Oxford U. Press.
Two reports from the pioneering study of how to reform science education.

National Academy of Sciences: Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. 1995, National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20418.
A discussion of the issues across disciplines. (Available on the Web at

NASA: Implementing the Office of Space Science Education/Public Outreach Strategy. 1996, NASA report.
A strategy for leveraged ways NASA and its scientists can contribute to education. Contact Jeff Rosendhal (

NASA: Partners in Education: A Strategy for Integrating Education and Public Outreach into NASA's Space Science Programs. 1995, NASA OSS.

National Research Council: National Science Education Standards. 1996, National Academy Press.
The result of a national effort to define how science should be taught and what is needed to bring about reform.

National Research Council: The Role of Scientists in the Professional Development of Teachers. (1996, Nat'l Academy Press).
Done for biologists but with much to say to all of us.

National Research Council: Science Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook. 1997, National Academy Press.
A summary of ideas and resources for college instructors. Nothing on astronomy, but some good ideas and references in general.

Sigma Xi: Scientists, Educators, and National Standards: Action at the Local Level. 1994, Sigma Xi, Forum Coordinator, P.O. Box 13975, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.
Proceedings of a 1994 forum, bringing together educators and scientists. Has a good catalog of projects in many disciplines.

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