For professional educators, teaching astronomy can be a challenge. Most schools do not have their own planetarium or observatory facilities, and teachers are not always comfortable with astronomical concepts. Field trips to a planetarium can inspire students and help them visualize the workings of our universe. Visiting a local observatory or club observing event allows students the opportunity to see celestial wonders such as mountains on the Moon and the Rings of Saturn first-hand — trust us when we say the experience is much more powerful than seeing pictures on a movie or website.
Families who educate their children at home enjoy a lot of flexibility in activities and schedule. This is something that fits very well with the observing activities offered with amateur astronomy clubs. Planetarium visits and observatory tours are also a lot more accessible to students in a home-school environment. Parents, take advantage of the opportunities in your local area to give your children an up-close and personal experience with the stars.
Many youth groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have astronomy-related badges or certificates. Amateur astronomy clubs can provide mentors to help with the requirements and activities for those achievements. Some planetaria have programs geared specifically for this as well.
In addition to contacting your nearest astronomy organization, online resources can be of great help. Here are some of our favorites: