Press Release: December 29, 2004

Free K-12 Astronomy Lesson Plans Available from Digitalis Education Solutions

Digitalis Education Solutions has published 12 astronomy lesson plans for use with kindergarten through 12th grade students. Lessons are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and cover a variety of topics, including moon phases, solstices and equinoxes, and debunking astrology.

Bremerton, WA. December 29, 2004 -- Digitalis Education Solutions has published 12 astronomy lesson plans for use with kindergarten through 12th grade students. Lessons are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and cover a variety of topics, including moon phases, solstices and equinoxes, and debunking astrology.

Digitalis has made these lessons freely available as a public service to encourage the teaching of astronomy and to help increase scientific literacy. Basic astronomical concepts such as why we experience seasons, the cause of moon phases, and how a day and a year relate to Earth's movements are an important part of scientific literacy.

A planetarium is ideal for illustrating abstract astronomical concepts. Although these lessons are written for the Digitarium Alpha digital planetarium projector, many activities can be modified for use with different planetarium systems or even used in a classroom setting. For example, one activity involves zooming in on Jupiter and showing the Galilean moons changing position over time, a piece of evidence Galileo used to disprove the geocentric model of the universe. Educators using a system without this capability or not using a planetarium at all could instead show posters of Jupiter and its four largest moons at varying times. Some activities involving planetary motion, planet phasing, and precession of the equinoxes will be impossible to modify for pinhole type portable projectors.

To access the lesson plans, suggested background resources, and information about alignment with the National Science Education Standards, visit: http://DigitalisEducation.com/curricula.html

A simple license allows educators to copy, modify, and distribute Digitalis' lesson plans. See the full text of the license on each lesson plan for details. Educators are encouraged to submit their lesson modifications, translations into other languages, or original lessons for wider distribution through this website.

These 12 free lesson plans for use with elementary through high school students provide ideas for educators with or without access to a planetarium. Digitalis Education Solutions hopes that the lessons inspire all teachers to share the wonders of astronomy with their students.

About the Digitarium Alpha projector: The Digitarium Alpha projector was launched in November, 2003 to fill the need for an affordable, full-featured planetarium projector. Designed for use in portable and small fixed domes up to about 26 ft/8m in diameter, the Digitarium Alpha projector allows educators to easily take the capabilities of a fixed planetarium on the road, or to share one system across an entire school district. The Digitarium Alpha projector's built-in DVD drive provides tremendous flexibility without requiring supplemental equipment; educators can easily teach any subject in the stimulating environment of the dome. Its numerous features make the Digitarium Alpha projector relevant for students of any age, from preschool through college.

About Digitalis Education Solutions: Digitalis Education Solutions was founded in January, 2003 to create capable and affordable tools for astronomy education. Along with the Digitarium Alpha projector, the company also sells Digitalis portable domes in several diameters.

Karrie Berglund, Director of Education, spent more than six years teaching for Pacific Science Center's Science On Wheels outreach program and also supervised PSC's Smith Planetarium.