Maya Skies External Evaluation Report

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Resource Type:
Research and Evaluation Instruments | Survey | Interview Protocol | Summative
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Planetarium and Science on a Sphere
General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Education and learning science | Space science
Inverness Research Associates, Chabot Space & Science Center

In 2007, the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California, in collaboration with LodeStar Astronomy Center, and the Institute for Learning Innovation received a grant from the National Science Foundation to design, create, research, and distribute a planetarium show called Tales of the Maya Skies. The project was an ambitious effort that set out to accomplish multiple goals, including the production of an innovative full dome planetarium show, the demonstration of an innovative production model, and sharing lessons learned with the field. A description of the three major components of the project's theory of action follows. The show: The project set out to create a full dome planetarium show using immersive, 3D technology within the context of Maya cosmology. The aim was to show how this early civilization observed and recorded the movements of objects in the sky and how they made meaning of their observations. It was hoped that this context would be a compelling entry point into the present day science of astronomy. The intent was for the show, Tales of the Maya Skies, to interpret celestial phenomena in both an historical, Maya context and a contemporary astronomical one. The production model: In producing the show, the project proposed to demonstrate an innovative model for full-dome collaborations by employing the expertise of several different technical and production houses, and the capacities of several leading full-dome planetaria. This distributed expertise design is a familiar design for Hollywood films, but until this project, it had not been used in producing planetarium shows. The appendix of this report includes survey and interview protocols used in the study.

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Team Members

Mark St. JohnMark St. JohnEvaluator
Michelle PhillipsMichelle PhillipsEvaluator
Katherine RamageKatherine RamageEvaluator
Dawn RoblesDawn RoblesEvaluator

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