Understanding the Universe: Topics and Trends in Astronomy Education Research

Janelle M. Bailey
Assistant Professor of Science Education
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Astronomy can attract the attention and interest of the young and old alike – but interest alone is sometimes insufficient for understanding. Confusion about structures (such as solar system and galaxy) and fundamental processes (stellar fusion) is a widespread phenomenon. What factors influence a student’s learning of astronomy? What are the most effective curricular materials and teaching strategies? What are the differences between astronomy education at the K-12 and ASTRO 101 levels? And how do we know all of this, anyway?