Derek Dennis

Rugby Middle School
Henderson County Schools
Mentors: Dr. Michael Castelaz, Christi Whitworth, Dr. Dave Clavier, PARI; Kirsten Weeks, Cisco Systems
Sponsor: Cisco Systems Foundation

Scientific Inquiry of the Universe through Modern Technology
In collaboration with the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), on the site of a former NASA tracking station in the Pisgah National Forest, and Cisco Systems, Mr. Dennis is developing ways to help his students learn the basics of scientific inquiry, methodology, critical thinking and communication by conducting hands-on scientific investigations with innovative radio and optical astronomy technologies. Students will be able to remotely access and control scientific devices at PARI including radio and solar telescopes. Podcasts, blogs and virtual activities help keep students at all levels engaged. Dennis is designing the hands-on experience with PARI to stimulate students’ desire to learn more science, while expanding their knowledge of the universe.