Astronomy Skits for Secondary School Science Education

At the 2013 INSAP VIII Conference on “The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena,” co-authors and Co-Founders of The Human Sentience Project, Margaret Boone Rappaport, PhD, an anthropologist, and Christopher J. Corbally, PhD, an astronomer, performed two costumed Astronomy Skits to a warm response at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC [see image at]. This proposal requests funds to build upon that success. We propose the development of a third skit in the same Development Area of “Supernovae,” a skit entitled, “How Serendipity Leads to Theory: “The A.D. 2054 Eta Carinae Supernova.” Planned Development Areas are: (1) Supernovae, (2) the Milky Way, (3) Planets & Exoplanets, and (4) Stars Galaxies. There will be 3 Astronomy Skits in each area, totaling 12. IAU deliverables for this project include 3 Astronomy Skit Packages (two for skits already developed, including “The Appearance of a Guest Star of A.D. 1054” and “The Cassiopean Supernova of A.D. 3054, or, Good News Travels Fast,” plus the skit to be developed here. Each Astronomy Skit Package includes: (1) a script with stage directions, (2) keywords for definition before the skit, (3) suggestions for inexpensive costumes or props, (4) the science, history, and culture behind each skit (5) discussion questions for after the skit, and (6) evaluation forms for students and teachers. English and Spanish versions will be delivered, with plans to produce all 12 Astronomy Skits in Portuguese and French, as well. The English versions will be performed for a Tucson high school, and evaluated by teachers and both science and humanities students. Results of the evaluation will be important in refining skits already performed, and developing future Astronomy Skit productions, for wide distribution in a single book-length volume. Proceeds from sales will allow the Astronomy Skit project to be self-sustaining.