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Episode 38 – Dan Peluso – Astronomy, SETI, Music and Modeling

In this episode, Mark talks with Dan Peluso about his time teaching physics and astronomy and the work he has done to help develop the modeling instruction materials and workshop for astronomy modeling (the next one is coming up in January!) They talk about the work he is doing at the SETI Institute with citizen science and bringing access to scientific data and telescope images to classrooms as well as ways that teachers can use astronomy in an inquiry-driven way.


Dan Peluso

Daniel Peluso is an astrophysics PhD candidate with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and Education Associate (STaCS Principal Investigator, Unistellar Education Associate, and UCAN Assistant Director) for the SETI Institute. Peluso’s PhD project is multi-disciplinary focusing on NASA TESS exoplanet follow-ups and astronomy education research. For astronomy education, Peluso is developing an astronomy citizen science network for education using remote and easy-to-use digital telescopes (Unistellar eVscopes) so teachers and students can observe celestial events and learn science by doing science (e.g. Modeling Instruction Astronomy). Peluso holds a Master of Education in Science Curriculum Development and years experience as a high school science teacher and recently developed a new graduate level inquiry-based astronomy education course for teachers with the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA). Peluso is also an outspoken advocate for mental health, a singer-songwriter, and regularly performs and releases original music under the stage name, Conner Eko.

Dan Peluso
Website | Twitter | Instagram

Connor Eko
Website | Instagram | Spotify


[34:14] Dan Peluso “So this, this telescope, the Unistellar eVscope is a consumer telescope that’s really easy to use, fits in a backpack, and it can collect the data…We can even observe exoplanets, which are planets around other stars. And that data can come to be research level that is actually publishable and it has been publishable. … And what we’re doing is putting these telescopes into the classroom…I work directly with the professors and helping them learn how to use a telescope and also implement it into their curriculum, into their teaching. And I try as best as I can to introduce them to modeling and I even tell them about modeling and invite them to modeling workshops and, you know, encourage them to do more inquiry-based, practices which this telescope can allow them to do. ”

[39:09] Dan Peluso “So we did this the last iteration of the course, and we’re gonna do it again, where teachers and their students, if they want to as well, will actually say, Oh, we want to get an observation of this exoplanet. We wanna plan an exoplanet observation. So I’ll then, put that notice up on our communication boards with the Unistellar network around the world and say, Oh, I have a teacher in Maine, or a teacher in, in New Jersey or in California, and their students and the teacher, they wanna get an exoplanet. So then the network will observe it for them and we’ll get the data for them and we’ll teach the teachers how to do this in their classroom. So not only we’re doing modeling, but we’re also combining it with like this really focused project-based learning experience where they’re literally doing science and learning from it. And sometimes this can even result in publishing or being involved in a published journal article. Which has happened already.”


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Ep 38 Transcript


Science Modeling Talks Episode 2: Colleen Megowan – Collaborative Sense-Making

SETI Institute

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot Official Video

Unistellar College Astronomy Network (UCAN) at the SETI Institute

January 2023 Astronomy Modeling workshop

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