NC Space Grant Workshop

Workshop Details

*Registration information forthcoming*

Who: 15 middle and high school teachers from NC
What: Geologic Materials from Outer Space
When: TBA
Where: Appalachian State University campus and Dark Sky Observatory

Meteorites are rocks that tell the story of the birth and evolution of our solar system. This workshop will introduce teachers to meteorites and the study of them through use of the principles utilized in Physical Geology and Earth Science. Our hope is that teachers will be able to inspire students with the confidence to literally reach for (and study) the stars using tools they have learned through earth science.

Introduction to meteorites is achieved through hands-on instruction, observation-based analysis of samples using common high-tech tools housed within the Department of Geology and the Dewel Microscopy center at ASU. The use of instruments and techniques such as polarized light microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and electron microscopy offers educators the experience of working with modern scientific equipment and the knowledge of how engineering has innovated instruments to meet the needs of science. As the occurrence of meteorites and the circumstances of their falls are reported more often in international news media, the interest of the general public has increased. A goal of this project to is to make the study of meteorite science available to K-12 educators through hand-on instruction and in-class implementation of scientific and educational materials.

Workshop Content

This workshop will familiarize participants with the basic skill sets we use to identify terrestrial rocks through observation of properties intrinsic to the materials and identification of textures resulting from their formation. As meteorites are geologic materials, we apply the same body of knowledge regarding their components to study their compositions and textures as we would with earthly geologic materials. These properties will be used to analyze and identify materials within meteorite samples in order to understand these rocks and their compositions. Some meteorites contain exotic textures; this characteristic will provide the basis to infer their difference from terrestrial rocks. We will utilize the information derived from the study of meteorite textures and compositions to place them into a geologic context of the solar system and the development, as well as, evolution of planets.


A detailed itinerary is in the works!

The three days will encompass minimum lecture on meteorites and earth science. The teachers will have hands-on experience with meteorite specimens (from ASU and NASA) as well as use of petrographic microscopes in the Department of Geology. We will spend an afternoon using the Scanning Electron Microscope housed within the Dewel Microscopy facility at ASU to visually analyze and chemically analyze minerals within meteorites. One evening will be spent at the Dark Sky Observatory touring the facility, viewing the Perseids Meteor Shower, and observing asteroids and comets through the telescope.



Impact Craters