For Educators

The night sky has been a source of inspiration and wonder since the dawn of humanity. Our collective cultural heritage of the starry night sky has inspired many artists like Van Gogh in his painting Starry Night, Holst in his musical composition The Planets, and Shakespeare in his sonnets about the Moon. We lose a means for inspiration and imagination, and a part of ourselves, when we lose a starry, dark night sky.
 
As we overcome our ancient instincts telling us to always push for more light, we have to remember to simply look up more and enjoy our cultural heritage: the starry night sky, and hopefully, as stewards of the Earth, be willing to protect it. How do we inspire people to be stewards of the night sky? We need to answer three questions:
  1.  How do we convince people living in cities that there is a problem, if they have never experienced a night sky, bursting with bright stars and streaked by the glow of the Milky Way?
  2. How do we convince them to care?
  3. How do we convince them to care enough to do something about it?
One answer to these questions is to educate the children who will become the decision makers as adults, voters, government officials, urban designers, lighting engineers and more. And here on this webpage  are several worthwhile activities on dark skies education to help educators bring awareness and hopefully action by educating our young on the hows and whys to preserve our night skies for generations to come.

The Quality Lighting Teaching Kit (QLT Kit) (for ages 12-18) provides 6 problem-based learning scenarios for middle and high school students to explore the issues and solutions to light pollution, like the glowing sky, light trespass into your home, glare, and effects on wildlife, health and energy consumption. Download the files from here:

Quality Lighting Teaching Kit Activities

Quality Lighting Teaching Kit Videos 

The QLT Kit was produced from a grant provided for the UN-sanctioned International Year of Light (IYL) in 2015 and was also featured as a global project  in the IAU’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2019.

For over eighteen years, the citizen-science program Globe at Night has reached people of all ages in 180 countries who have contributed nearly 300,000 measurements of the brightness of their night sky: https://www.globeatnight.org/. Be a citizen scientist and contribute data that could have never been collected without your help. Use your data and those from around the world to do studies of light pollution’s effects on human health, wildlife, energy consumption, population and/or monitoring the growth (or reduction) of light pollution where you live. The paper from Kyba et al (2023) is a perfect example of the power of citizen science. 

Globe at Night also partners with SciStarter.com, which is a project directory to more than 3000 searchable research projects and events. SciStarter also offers a coordinated place to record contributions and access  tools and instruments. Globe at Night has been among the top projects at SciStarter.com for many years. Globe at Night also participates in Global Astronomy Month in April each year as well as the International Day of Light on May 16.

Globe at Night on Facebook and Twitter/X:

www.facebook.com/GLOBEatnight

www.twitter.com/GLOBEatnight

The Dark Skies Rangers Education Program (for ages 6-11) provides hands-on, minds-on activities for upper grade school and middle school students to become more aware of light pollution issues and solutions: https://www.globeatnight.org/dsr/

“Losing the Dark” is a free planetarium show & flat screen video in ~24 languages from the DarkSky International. It introduces some of the issues regarding light pollution and suggests simple actions to help mitigate it. Loch Ness Productions were the producers. https://darksky.org/resources/videos/losing-the-dark/

For a wide variety of other excellent materials for educators and kids, see the DarkSky International resources at https://darksky.org/resources/materials-for-educators/

For great materials for public outreach, see the DarkSky International resources at https://darksky.org/resources/public-outreach-materials/.