My Sky Tonight

The My Sky Tonight project helped the field better understand how very young children and their families engage with astronomy. This project, led by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), was part of a field-wide effort to increase the capacity of informal science education institutions to effectively engage their youngest visitors (ages 3 – 5) and their families in astronomy. A research and practice partnership funded by the National Science Foundation, the many partners included the ASP and the Institute for Learning Innovation, as well as UC Santa Cruz, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Penn State; the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania, and San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum. Project research focused on identifying young children’s interests in and ideas about astronomy, and on how to design and deliver activities in developmentally appropriate ways and that support participation in authentic science practices (e.g. observation, explanation, and modeling). The project discovered that age-appropriate stories with engaging characters working to answer questions about the phases of the moon, or their very own shadows, could engage families in participating in science practices. For access to publications resulting from this research please see


Project Team: Judith Koke, Elysa Corin Ph.D.,  Monae Verbeke Ph.D.