The Hands-On Universe (HOU) project began in the 1990s when Carl Pennypacker, a supernova research astronomer at University of California Berkeley, invited a group of astronomers and educators to a meeting at the Lazy-K Ranch near Tucson Arizona USA. In sharing of ideas about how to make astronomy education better, the idea of making real telescopes and telescope images available to teachers and students took root. Along with that, image processing software tools became necessary to provide, as well as cooperation among astronomers and observatories to make telescope instruments available for use by schools.
Staff members at TERC, Jodi Asbell-Clarke and Tim Barclay, were enlisted to devise curriculum guides [www.lawrencehallofscience.org/hou/hs/terc.html] for teachers and students to use image processing software and observatory images in classroom activities. Hundreds of teachers were trained in the curriculum techniques. Lawrence Hall of Science (UC Berkeley) staff were involved at the first progenitor workshop at Lazy-K Ranch and then later starting in 1998, with NSF and NASA grant projects that involved hundreds more high school and middle school teachers.
Over the years, countries besides the USA became involved and Global Hands-On Universe (GHOU) Association was formed as a non-profit organization with partners worldwide.
The mission of HOU is to train teachers on the use of modern tools and resources for science education and engage students in international scientific projects. We also aim to promote interactive science projects among HOU countries and engage educators and students in a truly global cooperation. No borders or frontiers.