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South Carolina State University


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SOFIA Teacher Professional
Development Session

September 30, 2006
South Carolina State University


SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is the largest airborne observatory in the world. When it becomes fully operational, it will fly at altitudes over 40,000 feet and make observations of the Universe that are impossible by the largest and highest ground-based telescopes.

This workshop was designed to give teachers experience with standards-based activities and background material to use in the classroom on the topics of astronomy, light, electromagnetic radiation and the NASA SOFIA Mission.


SOFIA aircraft

A total of 21 certified, K - 12 teachers along with 3 educators from museums attended the workshop.

Participants in the workshop received:

  • A SOFIA Active Astronomy Infrared Kit (an $85 value)
  • A $75 stipend
  • A certificate documenting 6 hours of professional development credit
  • NASA take-home materials
  • Lunch on the day of the workshop
  • Information on how to apply to participate in future flights of the SOFIA aircraft


Dr. Dana Backman
NASA SOFIA Mission and Harlow Shapley Visiting Lecturer - American Astronomcial Society
Ms. Elizabeth Mayo
SCSU and The Stanback Planetarium
Dr. Linda Payne
SCSU and Midlands Mathematics and Science Regional Center
Ms. Irene Scott
SCSU and Center for NASA Research and Technology at SCSU
Dr. Donald Walter
SCSU and Center for NASA Research and Technology at SCSU


9:30 -
Registration Payne, Scott, Walter
10:00 -
Welcome and Overview Payne, Walter
10:15 -
SOFIA Acitivities Backman
12:30 -
Working Lunch Mayo, Walter
1:30 -
More SOFIA Activities Backman
2:30 -
Update on SC Science Standards and Workshop evaluation Payne


Room 205 of Hodge Hall, the science building on the campus of SCSU

This workshop was hosted by SCSU's Center for NASA Research and Technology (CNRT) and the Midlands Mathematics and Science Regional Center. Additional support for this session was been provided by NASA's MUCERPI award to SCSU (NNG04GD62G),the SCSU Campus Office of the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium, NASA's Minority University Space Interdisciplinary Network (MU-SPIN) and NASA's Broker/Facilitator, the SouthEast Regional Clearing House (SERCH) at the College of Charleston and the American Astronomical Society's Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship Program.