Family ASTRO: History & Evolution
Family ASTRO was initially developed to expand the ASPs flagship program Project ASTRO, which has partnered thousands of volunteer amateur and professional astronomers around the country with classroom teachers and students in their communities. We soon discovered with Project ASTRO that there was tremendous interest in what the astronomers and their educator partners were doing in the classroom among the families of their students.
In 2000, we received pilot funding from the Informal Science Education Division of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a strategy and materials to bring astronomy in a more systematic way to families in the same communities where Project ASTRO already operates. We told NSF, “We wanted to get families away from watching Hollywood stars and outside to follow the real ones!”
Since then, weve trained not only many Project ASTRO partners, but also hundreds of other educators across the country to use our series of Leader Kits and Take-Home Activities to lead fun, hands-on Astronomy Events in their communities. Through these educators, which include classroom teachers, homeschool teachers, amateur and professional astronomers, volunteer college students, science center and museum staff, librarians, afterschool providers, park and recreation staff, and youth group leaders (e.g., boys and girls clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, etc.), thousands of children and adults have participated to date in one or more Family ASTRO events.
Take-Home Activities (games and kits) are available to anyone who wants to have fun at home with family and friends and learn some astronomy at the same time. So, whether you want to spend some quality time under the stars, play a cooperative board game while learning about the Moon, test your knowledge of the Solar System, or hold a “deep space” night of cards, we think youll find a Family ASTRO game or kit that suits your cosmic mood.