Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Oct. 28

Motorola Foundation awards grant to teach astronomy to Navajo, Hopi children

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Twenty teachers from the Navajo and Hopi nations will be participating in Lowell Observatory's Educational Astronomy Program (LEAP) thanks to a generous grant of $26,000 obtained from the Motorola Foundation. To date, the program has impacted more than 1,700 students and 50 teachers since its inception in 1996.

LEAP has four main goals: to use astronomy as a vehicle to stimulate interest in science on the part of Navajo and Hopi children; assist teachers of Native American students in learning about astronomy so they can incorporate it in their classrooms; dismiss myths about scientists and encourage children to consider careers in the sciences; and to train new generations of Native American children to become informed consumers of science information.

"The Motorola Foundation is proud to support LEAP in its efforts to encourage scientific learning within the Navajo and Hopi communities," stated Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. "LEAP introduces astronomy to students at a time when they are most inquisitive about the world, encouraging them to pursue their passion for science."

The focus groups are fifth through eighth grade students, targeting an age when a basic understanding of the Earth and the universe has been acquired and students have an inherent curiosity. LEAP is part of Lowell's education and outreach program that welcomes about 80,000 visitors each year.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to share ways of incorporating astronomy activities in the classroom and we provide all of the necessary materials," Project Director Deidre Hunter said.

Lowell Observatory will offer its regular tours and evening programs throughout the workshops. For more program information, visit

About Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory is a private, non-profit research institution founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell. The Observatory has been the site of many important findings including the discovery of the large recessional velocities (redshift) of galaxies by Vesto Slipher in 1912-1914 (a result that led ultimately to the realization the universe is expanding), and the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Today, Lowell's 19 astronomers use ground-based telescopes around the world, telescopes in space, and NASA planetary spacecraft to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science. The Observatory welcomes about 80,000 visitors each year to its Mars Hill campus for a variety of tours, telescope viewing, and special programs. Lowell Observatory currently has four research telescopes at its Anderson Mesa dark sky site east of Flagstaff, and is building a four-meter class research telescope, the Discovery Channel Telescope.

About the Motorola Foundation

The Motorola Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola, providing strategic grants, foraging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. Motorola Foundation focuses it funding on education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Corporate and Foundation giving, visit

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